Switch on for 280MW Solana CSP

Spanish concentrating solar power (CSP) giant Abengoa has switched on its 280MW Solana project in Arizona.

The $2bn development, the largest parabolic trough CSP plant in the world, will generate electricity to power 70,000 households and will save around 500,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere each year.

Solana is built around arrays of parabolic shaped mirrors mounted on structures that track the sun and concentrate its light on to water-filled receiving tubes, using the steam generated to power a conventional turbine set.

The development, located about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, is the first solar plant in the US with a thermal energy storage system able to generate electricity for six hours.

The project received a federal loan guarantee for $1.45bn through the Department of Energy’s Federal Loan Guarantee Programme.

“As the world’s largest solar plant of its kind, Abengoa’s Solana project is a great example of how the Department of Energy is advancing the technologies that will diversify our nation’s energy portfolio, strengthen energy security,  and provide clean, renewable domestic energy to American consumers,” says US secretary of energy Ernest Moniz.

Utility Arizona Public Service will purchase all of the electricity produced by the solar plant for 30 years through a power purchase agreement with Abengoa.