Solar thermal energy has set a record for electricity generation in the period from January to May with 2,026 GWH, 8% higher than the previous record, according to the REE data (Source: ESIOS) collected by Protermosolar, the Spanish Association for the Promotion of the Solar thermal Industry, which indicates that this generation represents 2.04% of the total generation of the period in Spain, also marking contribution record in this period.
In addition, Solar thermal has broken its own monthly generation records in February, March and May, with productions of 262 GWh, 478 GWh and 741 GWh, respectively. It also highlights the continuous generation above 100 MW in May for seven consecutive days (Source: ESIOS), and the record contribution to the generation this month with 3.81% (the total record is the 17 consecutive days of August 2018).
Protermosolar highlights that these figures are achieved with the same installed capacity as in 2013, demonstrating the reliability of the technology and the maintenance of efficiency despite the fact that several plants have already exceeded 10 years of operation. The Spanish solar thermal park is formed in 1/3 part by power stations with storage, which load and unload their tanks more than 250 days a year, maintaining their capacity of operation without degradation and allowing to generate electricity after sunset.
For Protermosolar, these data show the confidence that must be had in this technology and the rightness to propose a greater deployment, such as that foreseen in the PNIEC, in this next decade to reach the 2030 objectives. In this sense, to implement systems of storage in those plants that currently do not have it, as well as developing new projects that generate in a complementary way to the photovoltaic installations, fundamentally, would facilitate the integration of renewable energy in the system, optimizing the existing and future transmission infrastructures and contributing to the stability of the network.
The new solar thermal power plants, equipped with large storage systems and dispatching electricity from dusk, would alleviate the ramps that would cause the daily fall of photovoltaic production in the afternoon and would, to a large extent, avoid emissions that would otherwise , would be associated with the combustion of gas in combined cycles. But in addition, the storage tanks of the solar thermal power plants could be used to capture the discharges of the wind and photovoltaic technologies, avoiding investments of more than € 20,000 million and could act as a strategic reserve at the disposal of the system operator for the moments of maximum demand to be able to maintain an important part of its capacity during days, weeks or months, for when the system needed it.