A concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the Seville province of Spain is to receive €80 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The 17 MW Gemasolar project will be the first commercial-scale demonstration plant using a molten salt heat system to store energy gathered by a heliostat (mirror) field, which concentrates the sun’s rays onto a central tower receiver.
The innovative heat storage system allows the generation of power for up to 15 hours without any solar input, increasing the energy efficiency compared with other solar generation technologies, says developer Torresol Energy Investment, which is 60% owned by Spanish engineering group SENER and 40% by Abu Dhabi developer Masdar.
Meanwhile, US developer SolarReserve is joining forces with Spanish renewable energy company Preneal on another 50 MW solar thermal project near Alcázar de San Juan, 180 km south of Madrid.
The Alcázar Solar Thermal Power Project, which will generate enough electricity for around 70,000 homes in the region, will also use molten salt, concentrated solar power technology. It will employ a dry-cooled design, which uses 15% of the water required by comparable wet-cooled solar thermal systems.
SolarReserve says the technology allows the generation of electricity ‘on demand’ and up to 24 hours a day. Construction on the site will start in 2010.
And finally, a planned 2 GW solar power plant in Inner Mongolia in China took a step forward with US developer First Solar reaching an agreement with the Chinese government.
Construction on the first 30 MW phase of the project is expected to start next June, followed by phases 2 (100 MW) and 3 (870 MW) due to be completed by 2014 and 4 (1000 MW), which should be operational by 2019.
For further information:
Concentrating solar technology ready for deployment (10-Jul)
First Solar breaks $1 per watt barrier (25-Feb)
20 November 2009