Concentrated solar power in Spain close 2011 with over 1,000 MW

Protermosolar, the Spanish Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Industry, describes the current solar energy sector, which will end the year with 1,000 megawatts installed. Two months to finish the year and the solar thermal power plants are already close to 1,000 MW. Operations are 902.4 MW of installed capacity in the absence of some concentrating solar power plants that are being tested and will come into operation later this year or early next (Lebrija 1, Andasol 3, Astexol II, Arcosol-50), with which they exceed the first GW of solar thermal.

Currently operating are capable of generating 902.4 MW and 2622 GWh, and prevent the emission of more than one million tons of CO2. The solar thermal sector’s current situation in Spain is very different from others who are involved in the acute financial crisis, a sector that, without falling into the speculation, is providing industrial development capable of generating many jobs and support help an entire industry that otherwise would have also fallen into recession.

A little over two months to close the year 2011, are operational 902.4 MW of installed solar thermal capacity in the absence of some concentrating solar power plants that are being tested and will come into operation later this year or early next (Lebrija 1, Andasol 3, Astexol II, and thermal Arcosol-50-50), with a breach of the 1000 MW of installed capacity. During this year, electricity generation has been growing steadily as they have been coming into operation several plants, peaking during the month of July with 291 GWh representing 1.28% of net electricity generated during that month.

The recent inauguration of the plant Gemasolar in Fuentes de Andalucía (Sevilla) by HM King Juan Carlos and HH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Abu Dhabi, has given a welcome boost to the social perception of this sector and has brought this technology still most citizens, pointing out its strategic importance in the energy market and the ability to export our technology to the world.

The fact that one of the countries with oil reserves and invest interest in this technology, there is anecdotal, but shows the long-term vision to substitute non-renewable energy sources to renewables, which in the case of Spain results in the non-dependence on foreign energy and improve the balance of payments.

The leadership position of Spain is seen not only in numbers, this year was held the annual meeting of SolarPACES, the agency under the auspices of the International Energy Agency coordinates the R & D & I sector world thermal, and which has just been elected president Manuel Blanco Spanish researcher.

Nor is it coincidence that the most important international congress of the solar thermal industry "CSP Today" was held in Spain, specifically in Seville on 29 and 30 November, but due to the position of head of Spain in this technology. Protermosolar, a leading contributor to this conference, will be present and make it available to the media material on the sector.

Protermosolar, the Spanish Solar Thermal Power Industry, was founded in 2004 with the aim of promoting the development of the Spanish solar energy industry. Currently has around 100 members covering the entire industry value chain. Protermosolar is also founder and vice president of ESTELA, its European counterpart.

The main objective is to promote the expansion and development of solar thermal technology in Spain and the rest of the world by:

Promote the development of solar thermal power plants within a stable and adequate regulatory framework for commercial-scale implementation.

Promote technology development, working with governments to establish effective support programs, as well as companies, research centers and universities to produce the maximum possible synergies.

Promoting excellence in planning, design, construction and operation of thermal power plants.

To increase awareness of these technologies and their great potential and macroeconomic benefits to society and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Solar thermal energy

The solar electricity is generated by a heat engine similar to the conventional thermal power from coal or gas, but that is powered by a renewable energy source such as solar radiation.

The process of this heat engine is, in general, concentrators based on lenses or mirrors that redirect the direct component of solar radiation to make it reach another smaller area, called receptor-absorber, which converts radiant energy in high temperature thermal energy, and it into electricity to be used immediately, or as energy stored in chemical form or in form of heat.

Solar thermal power plants equipped with thermal storage systems, allowing them to work beyond the hours when the sun is shining, even to work 24 hours a day. In addition, this technology allows hybridize with other fuels such as gas or biomass, thus improving performance during periods of low solar radiation.

In the energy model for future electricity generation from solar radiation is one of the main options from several points of view: the sun is the most abundant renewable resource on Earth and Spain is a country with great possibilities. The resource-solar radiation on a human scale is inexhaustible and nonpolluting, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

By José Santamarta,