Solana Generating Station
|Solana Generating Station Project|
|Construction began||December 2010|
|CSP technology||Parabolic trough|
|Site area||1,920 acres (780 ha)|
|Nameplate capacity||280 MW|
|Annual generation||944,000 MW·h (projected)|
The Solana Generating Station is a solar power plant near Gila Bend, Arizona, about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Phoenix, completed in 2013. When commissioned it was the largest parabolic trough plant in the world and the first U.S. solar plant with molten salt thermal energy storage. Built by the Spanish company Abengoa Solar, it has a total capacity of 280 megawatts (MW), which is enough to power 70,000 homes while avoiding around 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Its name is the Spanish term for "sunny spot".
The plant employs a proprietary concentrating solar power (CSP) trough technology developed by Abengoa, and covers an area of 1,920 acres (780 ha). Construction was expected to create about 1,500 construction jobs with the plant employing 85 full-time workers. Solar thermal plants use substantially more water for cooling than other solar generating technologies. Nevertheless, the Sierra Club supports the Solana plant, because it will be built on private land, and use "75 to 85 percent less water than the current agricultural use."
Arizona Public Service (APS) has contracted to purchase 100% of the power output generated from Solana, to meet the Arizona Corporation Commission's (ACC) mandate that the state's regulated utilities provide 15% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. APS will pay about 14 cents per kWh. The Solana plant was originally planned to open in 2011 and was estimated to cost $2 billion. In December 2010, Abengoa received a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to support construction of the plant.
One of the principal advantages of concentrated solar thermal (CST) is that thermal energy storage can be provided efficiently, so that output can be provided after the sun goes down, and output can be scheduled to meet demand requirements. The Solana Generating Station is designed to provide six hours of energy storage. This allows the plant to generate about 38 percent of its rated capacity over the course of a year.
- Energy storage
- List of energy storage projects
- Solar power in Arizona
- SEGS, nine solar power plants in California's Mojave Desert.
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- Arizona Utility to Buy Power from a 280-Megawatt Solar Power Plant