Santiago Arias is Technical Director of Operation and Maintenance at Torresol Energy’s Gemasolar concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plant in Seville, Spain.
The 20MW Gemasolar plant with molten salt storage has been in commercial operation since May 2011 and supplies 24 hour solar power to about 27,500 Spanish households every year.
Gemasolar is the first commercial concentrated solar power plant with central tower receiver and molten salt storage technology. The plant has produced over 100 million kWh in over one year of operation. Its record is 404MWh in a 24 hour period.
Santiago explains how Gemasolar has improved over the year and measures its contribution to the Spanish electricity grid. With a 15 hour buffer in the molten salt storage technology, Gemasolar provides predictable, reliable power generation. As the operation of the steam turbine to generate the electricity is independent of weather conditions, CSP with storage has advantages over other renewable technologies such as wind and solar PV (which are continuing to realise rapid cost reductions).
Gemasolar was recenlty visited by the South African government:
In August 2011, Santiago hosted Australian climate change advisor Ross Garnaut, federal independent MP Tony Windsor and BZE’s Matthew Wright at the Gemasolar plant, to show what could be possible for Australia.
Listen to more from Santiago: