Europe´s First Commercial CSP Tower Opens in Spain

A project I mentioned in a post in February (World hotbeds of solar activity II) became Europe´s first commercial concentrating solar power plant when it was officially inaugurated today near the Spanish city of Seville

By the way, sometimes it is mentioned as the world´s first, others only as Europe´s first, I am sorry to say that I have not been able to get the straight dope on this one.

Anyway, this 11 megawatt project by Solucar (a division of Abengoa)  known as PS10, produces electricity with 624 large movable mirrors or “heliostats”.

Each of the mirrors has a surface measuring 1,290 square feet that concentrates the Sun’s rays to the top of a 377 foot high tower where a solar receiver and a steam turbine are located. The turbine drives a generator, producing electricity.

Another plant doubling its capacity (PS20) is planned for the same area. A further six plants featuring different technologies will be added in time to form the Sanlucar la Mayor Solar Platform, with the aim of achieving a 302 MW total output.

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Heliostat (movable mirror) field in Seville (Photo courtesy Abengoa)

When completed in the year 2013, this Solar Platform will produce enough energy to cover the consumption of some 180,000 homes, equivalent to the needs of the city of Seville. It  will prevent the emission of more than 600,000 metric tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

Solucar, Abengoa´s solar division,  is now open for business in the United States. The $3 billion diversified energy company responsible for these projects has created Solucar Power, Inc., a new U.S. subsidiary that will handle market development in solar energy.

Solucar Power Inc. will respond to utility requests for electricity using concentrating solar power technologies. It has also purchased  the assets and technology in solar troughs of a company with 20 years of experience in the industry based in Denver (Industry Solar Technology – IST).

Frederick H. Morse, former Executive Director at the White House Assesment for Solar Energy, has been appointed Senior Advisor for Abengoa’s U.S. activities in CSP. 

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