Solana is the first commercial Concentrated Solar Power Plant in the United States to use this new thermal energy storage technology.
Solana’s molten-salt thermal energy storage system is able to generate power at maximum capacity for six hours without solar radiation. Solana is the first commercial Concentrated Solar Power Plant in the United States to use this new thermal energy storage technology.
Abengoa Yield (Nasdaq:ABY), the sustainable total return company that owns a diversified portfolio of contracted assets in the energy and environment sectors, has announced that Solana, its Arizona-based solar power plant, received the Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Innovation Award in the Utility-Scale category. Winners were announced on October 1st, 2014, at the ESNA Innovation Awards ceremony in San Jose, California.
Solana is the largest solar parabolic trough plant in the world. Located near Gila Bend, Arizona, it has a total installed capacity of 280 megawatts. With a six-hour molten-salt thermal energy storage capacity, it supplies clean energy to Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s largest utility, meeting peaks of demand before dawn and after dusk.
Solar thermal energy storage with molten salt permits Solana to eliminate intermittency issues, one of the greatest challenges that most renewables must face. Storage also increases dispatchability in the power generation process, creating systems which can operate flexibly both with and without solar radiation.
The ESNA Innovation Awards recognize excellence in energy storage project development. All project finalists were subject to a rigorous evaluation process based on key industry priorities, including: project impact; services supplied to the grid; financing model; ownership model; technology; and safety.
Winners were chosen by the ESNA Advisory Board and votes on social media. Public votes via Twitter accounted for 50 % of the final result. Solana’s project received 77 % of the votes submitted during the one-month twitter campaign.
Solana’s parabolic trough collectors track the sun and concentrate sunlight onto receiver tubes located at a focal point of each collector. A heat transfer fluid (HTF) is heated as it circulates inside the tubes and is then circulated back to a central power plant. The HTF then passes through a series of heat exchangers to produce superheated steam that is used to generate clean electricity in a conventional steam turbine generator. Delivering electricity to approximately 70,000 households, Solana prevents the emission of 475,000 tons of CO₂ annually.