Abengoa: Solar towers with storage to match natural gas by 2020
- Solar power tower technology with molten salt storage will match the price and flexibility of base load combined cycle natural gas-fired generation by 2020 but without emissions, Abengoa Solar CEO/Chair Manuel Sánchez Ortega said during the company’s Q1 earnings report.
- At remote mining sites in places like Chile and the Australian outback, utility-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) already beats the high cost of diesel generation and capital costs for both parabolic trough and power tower technologies continue to decline while their efficiencies increase.
- Abengoa just brought the 206-megawatt Mount Signal solar plant, the world’s biggest photovoltaic project with single axis tracking, online in California and last year bought Solana, the world’s biggest CSP project with storage, online in Arizona.
SolarReserve will bring its 110 megawatt Crescent Dunes solar power tower on line this year in Nevada that, with molten salt storage, will provide on demand power to NV Energy at $0.135 per kilowatt-hour to help meet Las Vegas’s after-dark electricity demand.
BrightSource Energy brought its 372 megawatt Ivanpah solar power tower complex on line this year and has announced that its next projects, including one in partnership with Abengoa, will include storage.
Abengoa just broke ground on the 110-megawatt Cerro Dominador solar power tower project in Chile’s Atacama Desert with 18 hours of molten salt storage. The CSP project, the first to provide direct electricity in Latin America, is expected to have an approximately 80% capacity factor because of the Atacama Desert’s near world-high solar radiation.
Abengoa is also developing projects in South Africa, northern Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico, and has an innovative “large aperture trough” plant and a 2 megawatt “superheated solar tower” technology demonstration at its Spanish R&D facility.