Spain becomes New World leader in Solar Thermal Power
Renewable SAMCA’s La Florida solar thermal plant
Spain has overtaken the US as the world leader in solar thermal power generation.
With the opening of the new 50 MW La Florida plant in Alvarado, Badajoz in the west of the country, Spainâ€™s total installed solar thermal power capacity is 432 MW, 10 MW ahead of the US.
The La Florida plant, which is owned by Renewable SAMCA, uses parabolic trough technology.
The technology allows the sun to be tracked during the day to maximise efficiency, focusing its energy onto a fluid-filled tube. The heated liquid produces steam, which is used to drive turbines. Thermal energy can be stored using molten salts to allow the plant to continue generating energy once the sun has gone down.
The 550,000 m2 plant is Spainâ€™s largest and takes the total number of solar plants in the country to 11.
According to the countryâ€™s solar energy association, Protermosolar, a further 20 plants are in an advanced state of construction, which within the year will add a further 600 MW in solar power.
By 2013, Spain could have 60 thermal power plants of various types and capacities, with a total output of nearly 2500 MW.The developments represent an investment of â‚¬2.5 billion to date, which will rise to an estimated â‚¬15 billion by 2013, according to Protermosolar.
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