Taming the wind and sun


Molinos de viento Windmills in La Mancha (Both the old and new varieties)

Originally uploaded by Zilargile (Top) and Strawjam (Bottom)

Everyone that has heard about La Mancha, knows from the musical and the Quixote novel that it is a sun-drenched land of windmills that might be giants (or not).

With all that sun and wind, the thinking of the locals seems to have been”If we got them, let´s put them to good use! ”

Correspondingly, the landscape in the region is dotted here and there with the iconic modern version of the windmills, that make a stellar appearance in the movie “Volver” by Almodovar.

Trying to profit from the other natural resource in abundance in the area, regional authorities are pushing forward an ambitious plan to boost solar energy. Besides the plants mentioned in my previous posts in Puertollano (solar thermal power), the city is the site for the Institute of Concentration Photovoltaic Systems or ISFOC (website in Spanish only).

The Institute launched a RFP for the development of plants using Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) technologies for a total capacity of 2.7 MW. The companies selected to build the plants are:

logo-foton.gif Guascor Foton (Spain/US, 300 KW)

images1.jpg Concentrix (Germany, 500 KW)

images2.jpg SolFocus (US, 500 KW)

isofoton.jpg Isofoton (Spain, 700 KW)

These commercial plants are going to be grid-connected and sited in different provinces of the region of Castile-La Mancha. The headquarters of ISFOC will house demonstration plants (200 KW) for each of the technologies employed in the commercial plants.

Concentrator Photovoltaic systems are experiencing a very interesting moment worldwide, with record gains in efficiency by Spectrolab (Boeing) and many companies taking their products to market. Spectrolab has an agreement with Solar Systems (Australia) to provide it with 500,000 concentrator solar cell assemblies to be used in remote rural communities.

Guascor Foton is one of the pioneers in Europe in this technology, the development of which stems from a partnership with the American company Amonix. Guascor Foton installed the first commercial high concentration CPV plant in Europe at the campus of the upm.jpgPolytechnic University of Madrid. This project was developed in collaboration with the Institute of Solar Energy from the UPM and the Spanish Government Agency for Energy Diversification (IDAE).

Concentrator PV system on tracking unit built by Guascor Fotón at the UPM

The company is also working in three aditional solar plants using the same technology with a joint capacity of 3.5 MW in different parts of Spain.

Explore posts in the same categories: Renewable energy

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One Comment on “Taming the wind and sun”

  1. […] and government support for solar power and other renewable energies are far ahead of the U.S. (See here our previous post on the activities of SolFocus in Spain) Explore posts in the same categories: Renewable […]

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