Having set the African record of 161 hours for continuous operation at a load factor of 76% before an inclement weather interruption during its first month of operation, the Bokpoort concentrated solar plant (CSP) in the Northern Cape is a shining example of the immense potential of CSP technology as a renewable energy source.
Powered by a Siemens SST-700 two-casing steam turbine generator set, the multi-billion rand Bokpoort plant also boasts 9.3 hours of storage, thanks to molten salt storage facilities that act as a massive rechargeable battery. Bokpoort is among the most efficient solar plants in the world operating in this class of capacity and technology.
It has a total power generating capacity of 50 MW net power output, and is equipped with the largest thermal storage size ever adopted for a parabolic trough plant. It is expected to yield more than 230 GWh/year to support the national power grid.
An estimated 89 000 TW of solar energy reaches the Earth’s surface annually – over 5 000 times more than the average yearly power consumed by humans. With most parts of South Africa averaging more than 2 500 hours of sunshine per year, solar technology is a very viable form of clean renewable energy.
South Africa has emerged as a renewable energy leader and billions of rand is being invested in CSP. The Solar Energy Technology Roadmap (SETRM) – a joint initiative of the Department of Energy and the Department of Science and Technology – estimates that 30 GW of CSP can be developed locally by 2050.
Siemens has placed a strong emphasis on investing in South Africa’s CSP and wider renewables sector. As a market leader in industrial steam turbines, Siemens has successfully delivered steam turbines to almost all CSP plants in South Africa and to most others worldwide, and has developed a range of solutions to meet expanded power requirements.
All Siemens steam turbines are highly efficient, ensuring maximum return-on-investment. They are designed for daily cycling with low minimum load, thereby enabling maximum running hours per day for plants without heat storage. They are fully-assembled as much as possible when shipped, enabling easy onsite installation, while reducing time and manpower.
Siemens offers steam turbines, condensers and related auxiliaries as well as sophisticated control systems for all CSP projects around the world.