Abengoa Solar signs contract with PG&E to supply 250 MW of solar power in California

Posted October 31, 2009 by Jlbrice
Categories: Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

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Abengoa Solar signs Power Purchase Agreement with PG&E for a 250-megawatt concentrating solar power (CSP) project to be built in California, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near Harper Dry Lake. The California Energy Commission is reviewing the Application for Certification to license the 1,765-acre CSP project.

Abengoa Solar announces the signing of a power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to supply the electricity generated by the new solar plant “Mojave Solar.” The project will generate 250 megawatts (MW) of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and is to be located in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino County, between Barstow and Kramer Junction, approximately nine miles northwest of Hinkley, and 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The project is expected to bring 1,200 green construction jobs and, when completed, approximately 80 permanent jobs to this desert area.

Once it starts operating in 2013, it will generate nearly as much electricity as all of California’s present-day commercial CSP installations combined, enough to power about 90,000 average homes, and avoid over 431 kilotons per year of greenhouse gas emissions.

On August 10, 2009, Abengoa Solar filed an Application for Certification with the California Energy Commission for its Mojave Solar Project. The project has been deemed data adequate by the CEC and public meetings are anticipated to begin in December.

Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar explained that “Mojave Solar is a project we have been working on for several years. The permitting and engineering effort is very advanced and we are very proud to partner with PG&E to make this project a reality.”

The project will be sited on 1,765 acres of private, previously disturbed land that had been farmed since the 1920s but is now largely fallow.

The solar plant will use significantly less water per acre than was used for agricultural purposes.

“The location has been carefully chosen and the plant has been specifically configured to minimize environmental impacts on the desert,” said Scott Frier, COO of Abengoa Solar, Inc.

The spinoff economic benefits, including jobs created, are expected to be significant near an area that was farmed for alfalfa from the 1920s but was later largely abandoned.

Mojave Solar Project will contribute to meeting California’s aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard, which calls for moving away from fossil fuels to solar energy and other renewable energy sources that avoid pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

We expect to start construction by the end of 2010, subject to financing under the U.S. economic stimulus legislation.

The Mojave Solar Project will use a similar size and type of Abengoa Solar parabolic trough technology as the system that will be installed at the Solana Electrical Generating Station announced in 2008 near Phoenix, Arizona. This is a highly innovative system that maximizes power production in trough plants.

The plant uses parabolic mirrors that are arranged in long troughs and track the sun’s movement continually during the day, concentrating the solar radiation onto a heat-absorbing pipe at the focal point of the mirrors. A heat transfer fluid circulating inside the pipe reaches temperatures of more than 700 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat is then used to generate steam that drives a conventional steam turbine.

In addition to the Mojave Solar Project in California and the Solana Project in Arizona, Abengoa Solar has seven CSP plants under construction or operation and others under development.

In August 2009, Abengoa Solar announced that it was selected by Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electric utility company, to build a demonstration parabolic trough concentrating solar power plant at Xcel Energy’s Cameo coal plant near Grand Junction, Colorado. Abengoa Solar has also used recently parabolic trough technology to make industrial process heat for a major food processor to cook snacks in Modesto, CA and for the U.S. Department of Energy to treat contaminated groundwater in Tuba City, AZ.


Siemens and Sky Global choose Cantabria, Spain, for their latest renewable energy projects

Posted September 18, 2009 by Jlbrice
Categories: Photovoltaics, Wind energy

Multinational Siemens is to install a test center for state-of-the-art wind turbines in the region of Cantabria (Northern Spain), the exact location of which is yet to be decided. Work will be carried out with the University of the Autonomous Region and the Regional Government.

The European Chief Executive of Siemens Wind Power, Lars Bondo Krogsgaard, the Cantabria Region Minister for Industry, Juan José Sota, and the Dean of the University of Cantabria, Federico Gutiérrez-Solana, signed an agreement on the 14th of August that will enable the multinational to collaborate in the development of onshore and offshore wind energy in the autonomous region.

apocalyptic sunset
Originally uploaded by Xavier Fargas

The Director of the company in Europe said they were still looking for a site for the test center in Cantabria, and had not ruled out having more than one location. Activities will begin with between ten and fifteen Siemens researchers, who will work closely with other researchers in the University of Cantabria.

Siemens is currently working in sectors such as industry, energy and health, it has companies in 190 countries, a workforce of 430,000 – 10,000 of which are in Spain – and has installed over 8,000 Megawatts of wind capacity around the world through its subsidiary Siemens Wind Power.

It is not the only renewable energy investment planned for the region.  The Chinese company Sky Global with extensive experience in Spain is to install a photovoltaic panel factory in Cantabria as well.

Sky Global, part of Shanghai Electric, is to open a manufacturing plant for modules at the Campoo-Los Valles Eco-park.

That is how it is described in the report on economic prospects for Cantabria, which estimates the forecast investment required to set the project up as amounting to 14.5 million euros and foresees the creation of 465 jobs.

The new  plant will also be joined by the installation of a 9.9 megawatt photovoltaic solar farm with 672 panels from the Chinese firm. The farm will be divided between two plots also located in Valdeolea.

Sky Global Solar S.A. is a company with an international outlook created in 2006 by professionals with wide-ranging experience in the Asian and European photovoltaic markets. Sky Global currently has offices in several Spanish cities and has set up strategic alliances with companies and industrial agents from the sector in Europe and Asia.

MECASOLAR supplies 500 kW of 2-axis trackers for solar photovoltaic project in California

Posted September 13, 2009 by Jlbrice
Categories: Photovoltaics

The Spanish company MECASOLAR– manufacturer of solar trackers and fixed structures  for solar pv projects – is taking part in a project in California for which they have supplied a total of thirty-four 2-axis trackers (MS-2E TRACKER) which will provide some 500 kW of power.

This is the first in a series of U.S. projects for MECASOLAR.  The company is integrated in the OPDE group, the leading solar developers in Spain.

According to MECASOLAR, the project for which they have already provided their trackers is currently being developed in Reclamation District 108 near the town of Yolo (California) with completion expected in early October. The aim is to reduce energy costs of pumping water from the area. This is common practice in California, and contributes to increasing the price of water for users; hence the interest in lowering the pumping costs.

Besides providing trackers, PROINSO engineering -also part of the OPDE- is responsible for the complete supply of the modules for the project (Trina modules – 230Wp Model TSM Poli) and the logistics of the project. Additionally, the company has worked with a local engineering firm on the configuration and execution of the project.

Continuing its commitment to the U.S. market, MECASOLAR will be exhibiting at Solar International (October 27 to 29,  Anaheim – Stand 111).

Earlier in July, the company exhibited at the Intersolar USA show in San Francisco, with a huge success in visitors and orders. This project in Yolo, is the first to materialize after the show.

Mecasolar's Booth at Intersolar USA

Currently, MECASOLAR has some 30 MW on their order books which they intend to formalize during Solar Power International. The supply will for this projects will take place between late 2009 and early 2010. These projects, of varying sizes and mostly located in California, will be delivered from the manufacturing plant opening soon in the San Francisco area. This plant will start producing  1 and 2 axis solar trackers and fixed structures at full capacity in the first quarter 2010.

This initiative reflects the interest of MECASOLAR and the OPDE Group-of which they form part-, in the U.S. market. In fact, the company already has a sales office in San Francisco.

Renovalia and Infinia partner to build solar dish-stirling power plants

Posted August 8, 2009 by Jlbrice
Categories: Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

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The Spanish renewable energy company Renovalia has signed an exclusive frameworks agreement for a  joint venture with the American firm Infinia to build thermosolar plants for third parties in Spain and Italy, and to develop projects in the rest of southern Europe, North Africa and other countries.

In addition, Renovalia will provide some components for the solar system to be manufactured in Spain by subsidiaries of the Group and external suppliers.

According to Renovalia, this is the first time that NASA technology will be used in Spain to produce electricity. To accomplish this, the Spanish-American partnership is setting up a €400 million ($567 million), 71 MW power plant in Villarobledo, Castile-La Mancha.

In addition to the Villarobledo plant, Renovalia is planning to install 150 MW a year in the future, using this technology which, in the area of renewable energy, is the least developed.

Infinia’s Solar System relies on a Free-Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) to convert concentrated solar heat to electricity. Infinia FPSEs convert thermal energy from external energy sources to linear motion which drives an integral linear alternator, thus generating clean, reliable electricity. 

This system is characterized by nearly 24% efficiency, low maintenance and operating autonomy. The main difference compared to other thermal technologies is that it does not need water or gas to produce electricity. Moreover, the engines are quiet, do not require lubrication and can be connected to the network in modular phases. A 50 MW plant using this technology can be built in less than a year.

The facility operates during sunlight hours and remains out of service during night hours. That is why the department of R+D of  Renovalia together with a team of international consultants and Infinia are working to develop a energy storage system to complement this technology. This video shows the actual systems:

GA-Solar and Sierra Nevada Corporation Form Renewable Energy JV for projects in Nevada and Southwest US

Posted August 6, 2009 by Jlbrice
Categories: Solar power

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Sierra Nevada Corporation President, Eren Ozmen, announces today the formation of a new joint venture between SNC and GA-Solar North America. GA-SNC Solar LLC is dedicated to creating solar renewable energy in Nevada and surrounding states. Through this joint venture, GA-SNC Solar will design, build and install photovoltaic solar generation facilities that generate energy for its customers.

GA-SNC Solar is working with local Nevada contractors on the first Nevada based project which is expected to begin later this summer. The company is pursuing future PV solar projects for the federal government, state governments, municipalities, military, tribal organizations, utilities and companies that are large consumers of electricity.

This is Sierra Nevada Corporation’s first entry in renewable energy. Sierra Nevada brings the experience of developing and producing large products and programs, while its partner GA-Solar, is one of the largest and most experienced providers of solar power in the world. Both companies are privately owned and operated by families with similar company cultures and viewpoints about developing renewable energy.

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency have steadily gained popularity in Nevada,” said Greg Cox, Corporate Vice President, Sierra Nevada Corporation. “GA-Solar is a leader in photovoltaic solar generation and is a great partner with the depth and breadth of experience needed to help us enter into this growing energy sector.”

“The renewable market is growing because both federal and state governments are beginning to incentivize the development of renewable power generation and mandate the percentage of energy production that must be produced, said Greg Cox. “The U.S. renewable market is the largest in the world and we are fortunate to be in a region that has the necessary abundance of sun, wind and geothermal activity for the production of renewable energy.”

According to the Department of Energy, Nevada currently ranks second in the Nation for development and use of its geothermal resources and has considerable hydroelectric capacity. In addition, the state recently changed its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) increasing the percentage of renewable energy generation required each year through 2025. The GA-SNC Solar partnership Sierra Nevada and GA-Solar will build photovoltaic facilities — the world’s fastest growing energy technology — to convert sunlight directly into electricity. With the increased need for clean energy sources and open space, Nevada is a prime location for photovoltaic solar generation facilities.

logoGAsolarAbout GA-Solar North America

A subsidiary of Gestamp Corporation, GA-Solar is a developer of large solar energy projects, from planning to execution of the projects with more than 200 MW commissioned solar plants and another 800+ MW in development. The company also specializes in the design, manufacture and installation of both fixed and tracking solar structures. GA-Solar has offices in Madrid and Murcia, Spain, as well as in Rome, Italy and the United States.

snc-logoAbout Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft and communications systems for both the private and public sectors. Founded in 1963, SNC’s seven unique business areas employs approximately 2000 people in 35 different locations in 20 states – all of whom are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC’s dynamic customer base.

Over its 45 year history, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. SNC has grown into one of the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractors in the United States while maintaining its reputation for innovation and agility. The company continues to focus its growth on the commercial sector through internal advancements and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of telemedicine, nanotechnology, energy and net-centric operations.

Parsons and TSK establish and alliance to develop CSP projects

Posted July 28, 2009 by Jlbrice
Categories: Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

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Parsons has signed a strategic alliance agreement with TSK, a Spanish energy and industrial engineering firm.  This strategic partnership  by Parsons and TSK will provide Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology applications in North America and the Middle East. CSP has proven an effective and efficient technology for generating merchant class solar power at levels from 20 to 500 megawatts.

Parsons, an engineering, construction, and technical and management services firm headquartered in Pasadena, California, brings to the partnership the ability to deliver large solar projects from planning and environmental permitting through startup.

TSK is completing two CSP projects in Spain that incorporate thermal storage—storing heat in molten salts, providing for generation of solar-powered energy 24/7. It also has experience in developing photovoltaic plants. Spain has long been a leader in solar power, driven by long-term support from the Spanish government.

“CSP with thermal storage should find a very large market in the Sunbelt of North America and throughout the Middle East,” said Mike Walsh, president of Parsons Commercial Technology Group. “The combination of Parsons’ resources and reputation in the market and TSK’s experience and expertise with CSP with thermal storage will provide utilities, power districts, and independent power producers with an elegant option for base load renewable power to meet large-scale renewable power requirements.”

Until recently, the plants have been limited to “peaker” service, since solar could only produce power when the sun is shining. That has now changed; CSP can produce power around the clock and be a base load generator. Having the ability to produce solar power around the clock is a “game changer” in the rapidly moving solar and renewable power field. Thus, Parsons and TSK look forward to working together on this important undertaking.

Ten High Ranking Officials from California Visit Spain’s Renewable Energy Sites

Posted June 30, 2009 by Jlbrice
Categories: Renewable energy

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The Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, ICEX, has organized a fact-finding visit from June 28 to July 3 for 10 high ranking officials from California, as the leading US state in the development of renewable energy, to reinforce the relations between Spain and the Golden State. It will also serve the purpose of allowing the participants to share best practices and know more about their respective regulatory systems to promote renewable energy.

The visit is part of ICEX´s commitment to showcase Spanish capabilities in technology products and services in the American market.  Among the activities scheduled are meetings with the Spanish Secretary of the State of Commerce, Silvia Iranzo, bilateral discussions with leading Spanish companies in the industry and guided tours of some landmark projects developed and managed by Spanish firms.

The group includes representatives from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Energy Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and L.A. City Hall and Water and Power Dpt.

Some of the highlights include visits to Acciona HQ in Madrid and the Iberdrola‘s Control Center for Renewable Energy (CORE)  in Toledo. The CORE facility serves a key role in helping to integrate and manage intermittent renewables on the national grid.

CORE center in Toledo, courtesy of Iberdrola

This visit complements a previous one to the Control Center of Renewable Energies (CECRE) from the Spanish Grid operator, Red Electrica. CECRE is  a worldwide pioneering initiative to monitor and control these energy resources. It allows the maximum amount of production from renewable energy sources, especially wind energy, to be integrated into the power system under secure conditions with constant updates of available renewable energy. You may learn more about the CECRE through a video here.

Panoramic view of the PS10 solar power plant

Panoramic view of the PS10 solar power plant

The third part of the visit includes guided tours to the Solucar Solar Platform in Seville (Abengoa Solar) and the largest thermosolar power plant in Europe, Andasol, in the province of Granada, built by ACS Cobra and SENER.