SENER has been awarded the top prize in the European Business Awards for its Gemasolar project. SENER beat nine other finalists in the competition, which started in May 2011 and involved over 15,000 European companies.
This is how Protermosolar - the Spanish Solar Thermal Electric Trade Association - describes the current status of the sector, which will finish the year having installed 1,000 megawatts and no hint of suffering the ills of the crisis being experienced in other sectors.
Only South Africa, where Africa ends, lies further south than this country, 70% of which is the Kalahari Desert. This is where plans are in place to build a 200-MW solar thermal electric plant.
On 20 September, the Minister for Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia, opened SolarPACES, a multinational symposium on concentrating solar power, the host city of which this year was Granada. The organisers announced that the 17th edition of SolarPACES, arranged by CIEMAT, had attracted a thousand participants for the first time in its history.
This figure was released by the sector’s trade association, Protermosolar, according to which “Spanish solar thermal power plants use between 75 and 80% of components manufactured in Spain or with technology developed in our country”.
Spain could meet all of its electricity demand using concentrating solar power (CSP) plants occupying a plot of land measuring 65.5 kilometres by 65.5 kilometres, says Protermosolar. The sector's trade association indicates that existing CSP plants currently generate 2,482.25 GWh/year of electricity, equivalent to the consumption of 620,500 Spanish homes.
The facility, which has a solar field covering 135 hectares, adds a further 50 MW to its twin – Palma del Río II – which was brought on line in December 2010. Around €500 million has been spent on the two plants, says their developer, Acciona. The entry into service of Palma del Río I means that the company has installed 200 megawatts of thermal solar power in Spain, 23% of the country’s current operating capacity.
The Advanced Technology Center for Renewable Energy (CTAER) is working to develop new solar thermal electric plants that it hopes will be 17% more efficient. The prototypes boast hybrid-collectors – in addition to collecting solar radiation they use other energy sources – and “variable geometry” allowing the main elements of the plant to move to capture the maximum amount of direct sunlight possible.
After only a month of commercial operations, the concentrated solar power (CSP) plant has reached its first milestone. Located in Fuentes de Andalucía (Seville, Spain) and owned by Torresol Energy (a joint venture between Masdar and Sener – Gemasolar has supplied its first uninterrupted day of electricity to the network. It is the first solar thermal electric plant in the world to do so.
94% of the electricity generated by the Hassi R'Mel hybrid plant (Algeria) will result from the burning of gas, while the remaining 6% will be produced using a supplementary solar thermal electric array. The “hybrid” (gas-solar) plant was opened on 14 July in the presence of Spain's Industry Minister, Miguel Sebastian, and Secretary of State for Energy, Fabrizio Hernández Pampaloni.