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As the world's energy needs increase – the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted that global energy consumption will rise by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040 – having access to an alternative source of power is more important than ever.

Solar power is one such source, with governments and companies looking to harness the limitless energy of the sun by building vast installations.

Here, we take a look at eight of the most striking.

By Anmar Frangoul, special to CNBC.com

Cristina Quicler | AFP | Getty Images