Torresol Energy has commissioned the 19.9MW Gemasolar concentrated solar power plant in Seville, Spain, the first commercial-scale CSP plant that combines a solar tower technology with extensive thermal storage capabilities. The plant uses an innovative molten salt heat transfer technology that helps avoid fluctuations in power supply, can provide 15 hours of energy production without sunlight, and so can provide energy 24/7 for many months in the year.
The plant, which comprises 2,650 mirrors over 185ha, is expected to generate around 110GWh of energy each year, up to three times the amount of competing solar plants. Torresol is a joint venture between Spanish engineering group Sener, and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy centre. The plant will produce temperatures of more than 900°C at the central receiver, which can absorb 95 per cent of the radiation from the sun’s spectrum, while the molten salt heat transfer system reaches temperatures of more than 500°C.
Torresol chairman Enrique Sendagorta described Gemasolar as a “revolution” in the CSP sector, and said the standardization of this new technology will mean a real reduction in the investment costs for solar plants. “The commercial operation of this plant will lead the way for other central tower plants with molten salt receiver technology, an efficient system that improves the dispatchability of electric power from renewable sources,” he said. Gemasolar has been a awarded a 25-year regulated tariff by the Spanish Government. Torresol also intends to begin operations at two 50MW parabolic trough solar plants at Cadiz by the end of the year. It plans more facilities in the US, Europe, Middle East and north Africa.