Solana Generating Station

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Solana Generating Station Project
Abengoa Solar (7336111844).jpg
Assembly of the parabolic mirrors
Solana Generating Station is located in Arizona
Solana Generating Station
Location of Solana Generating Station Project in Arizona
Country United States
Location Maricopa County
Coordinates 32°55′N 112°58′W / 32.917°N 112.967°W / 32.917; -112.967Coordinates: 32°55′N 112°58′W / 32.917°N 112.967°W / 32.917; -112.967
Status Operational
Construction began December 2010
Commission date 2013
Construction cost US$2 billion
Owner(s) Atlantica Yield[1]
Liberty Interactive Corporation
Operator(s) Arizona Solar One LLC
Solar field
Type CSP
CSP technology Parabolic trough
Collectors 3,232
Total collector area 2,233,958 square metres (552.023 acres)
Site area 1,920 acres (780 ha)
Power generation
Units operational 2
Make and model Siemens[2]
Nameplate capacity 280 MW
Storage capacity 6 hours
Planned output 944 GW·h

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.[3] Built by the Spanish company Abengoa Solar, it has a total capacity of 280 megawatts (MW) gross, from two 140 MW gross (125 MW net) steam turbine generators, which is enough to power 70,000 homes while avoiding around 475,000 tons of CO2 every year.[4] Its name is the Spanish term for "sunny spot".[5]


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.[6][7] 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."[8]


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.[9] The Solana plant was originally planned to open in 2011 and was estimated to cost $2 billion.[10] In December 2010, Abengoa received a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to support construction of the plant.[11]

Energy storage[edit]

Construction of the Salt Tanks

One of the principal advantages of concentrated solar thermal (CST) is that thermal energy storage can be provided efficiently,[12] so that output can be provided after the sun goes down, and output can be scheduled to meet demand requirements.[13] 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.[14]


Solana Generating Station's production is as follows.[15]

Generation (MW·h) of Solana Generating Station [15]
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2013 0 45,230 23,839 20,179 89,248
2014 29,945 31,825 49,358 50,325 75,221 78,231 59,276 52,191 63,406 62,693 33,735 17,361 603,567
2015 12,165 27,259 51,698 82,237 88,122 91,097 86,217 91,475 63,135 49,469 46,262 29,707 718,843
2016 33,173 37,399 51,744 57,353 88,255 88,994 84,981 42,855 51,387 50,595 35,073 21,861 643,670
Total 2,055,328

Projected full production is 944,000 MW·h (994 GW·h).[16] At the end of the second full year of operation, the Solana Generating Station is still operating 25 percent below the projected full production value.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Our Assets". Atlantica Yield (was Abengoa Yield). 2 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Solana Project Description". Atlantica Yield (was Abengoa Yield). Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Mearian, Lucas. U.S. flips switch on massive solar power array that also stores electricity: The array is first large U.S. solar plant with a thermal energy storage system, October 10, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  4. ^ "Solana, the largest parabolic trough plant in the world". Abengoa. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  5. ^ "Solana" in
  6. ^ Abengoa to Build 280MW Concentrating Solar Power Plant in Arizona, website, February 21, 2008.
  7. ^ Lavelle, Marianne. Big Solar Project Planned for Arizona Desert: $1 billion installation would use parabolic mirrors to generate power southwest of Phoenix, U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 2008.
  8. ^ Gelt, Joe (2008). "Clean, Green Solar Power Falls Short in Achieving Water Efficiency". Arizona Water Resource (Arizona Water Resource, vol. 17, no. 1, 16pp., Water Resources Research Center, Tucson, AZ, Autumn 2008). University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  9. ^ Randazzo, Ryan (February 21, 2008). "Plant to brighten state's solar future". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  10. ^ Randazzo, Ryan (July 3, 2010). "Arizona solar plant gets big boost from feds". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  11. ^ "Abengoa closes $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee for Arizona solar farm". Reuters. Dec 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ Wright, matthew; Hearps, Patrick; et al. Australian Sustainable Energy: Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, Energy Research Institute, University of Melbourne, October 2010, p. 33. Retrieved from website.
  13. ^ Innovation in Concentrating Thermal Solar Power (CSP), website.
  14. ^ Solana: 10 Facts You Didn't Know About the Concentrated Solar Power Plant Near Gila Bend
  15. ^ a b c "Solana Generating Station, Monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved February 4, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Solana Generating Station". Concentrating Solar Power Projects. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). February 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]