Andalusia launches over 500 new MW of concentrating solar thermal power

Andalusia has been launched in the last year 517 MW of concentrated solar thermal power, for a total of 847.7 MW installed, which has exceeded the target in the Andalusian Energy Sustainability Plan, which reflected a target to 2013 of 800 MW.

Andalusia has been launched in the last twelve months over 517 MW of solar thermal, totaling 847.7 MW of installed which allows the community to continue to maintain national leadership in the concentrated solar power technology.

These new megawatts spread over 11 new thermal power plants and are a capable of supplying electrical power needs of 257,000 homes.

In the first half of 2012 have begun to operate three facilities: Solacor 1 and 2, in the town of El Carpio, Cordoba, and the plant Moron of Ibereolica in Moron de la Frontera (Seville). In 2011 the plant started its activity was ‘Gemasolar’, in Fuentes de Andalucía, ‘Helioenergy I and II’, both located in Ecija, ‘Lebrija I’ (Lebrija), ‘Palma del Río I’, in the town of Cordoba same name, ‘Andasol III’, in Aldeire and Calahorra (Granada) and facilities ‘Valley I and II’, in the municipality of San José del Valle (Cadiz).

Thus, Andalusia has 847.7 MW of solar thermal power plants distributed in nineteen commercial and two experimental concentrating solar power plants, serving a population equivalent of 382,000 families and prevent more than 649,000 tons of CO2 annually, as if they withdraw from circulation 410,000 vehicles .

These figures represent 53.6% of the 1,581 MW installed in Spain and have allowed to be exceeded and the forecast used in the Andalusian Plan for Sustainable Energy (PASENER 2007-2013), which reflected a 2013 target of 800 MW this technology.

By provinces, Sevilla-holder of solar radiation levels well above the Spanish average, is the one with a higher degree of implementation of solar thermal installations, with a total of 10 commercial plants and 2 experimental plants totaling 398 MW of total power. Cordova followed with 4 plants and 200 MW, Granada, 3 and 149.7 MW, and Cadiz, which has 2 plants and 100 MW of installed capacity.

In addition, there are under construction 150 MW of solar thermal power at various locations in Andalusia, plants that are earmarked by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and is expected to become operational before the end of 2013.

These figures positioned as the undisputed leader in Andalusia in Spain. According to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Andalusia had in late 2011 with 697.7 MW of solar thermal, 61% of the national total. Extremadura followed, with 300 MW; Castilla La Mancha, with 150 MW, and Murcia, with 1.4 MW.

Solar thermal technology has covered 27% of the jobs created in the renewable energy sector in 2011, more than 11,900 jobs. Andalusia also has a significant auxiliary industries associated with solar thermal power plants, both in the manufacture of galvanized structures for heliostats, as of a specific product as of this technology such as the absorber tubes.

The factories are located in the provinces of Jaen and Seville.

Drivers of R & D

The Autonomous Community of Andalusia is a pioneer in research and development of solar thermal technology developed through research in the Andalusian universities and through scientific experiments carried out at the Plataforma Solar de Almeria (PSA), subsidiary of the Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT).

The Plataforma Solar de Almeria is considered one of the most important research centers in solar technology worldwide.

It has a Central Tower 1 MW and 1.2 MW thermal power. It also has other thermoelectric systems as a central parabolic trough systems and parabolic disc.

Note the recent installation of a hybrid plant with central tower technology in the field of Israeli company Aora Solar, installed at the PSA for verification and improvement of components, which supports co-fuels as biogas, natural gas or bio-diesel and can operate for 24 hours.

Also, since 2008 Andalusia also has the Advanced Technology Center for Renewable Energy (CTAER), dedicated to promoting R + D + i and technology transfer between companies and institutions involved in the sector. Next to the Plataforma Solar, has 91 hectares of land for siting test new concepts of solar concentration technologies.

In this sense, has begun construction of an experimental solar thermal power plant to analyze the performance capture sunlight incident and its impact on improving profitability, which can provide comprehensive design of new plants based on the variable geometry and for the design and testing of Sol-Biomass hybrid receptors.

By José Santamarta,