Gemasolar hits 36-day 24/7 output

The Gemasolar concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Spain produced round-the-clock power for a record 36 consecutive days during the summer, according to owner Torresol Energy.

The claim comes as Torresol celebrates the second birthday of the 19.9MW Gemasolar, the first plant to marry power-tower CSP technology to molten-salt heat storage, enabling electricity production long after the sun has set.

Although the CSP market has grown more slowly than expected in recent years, dented by the rapid price decline of PV, the sector has continued to trudge forward, both in the US and emerging economies like India and South Africa. 

Brightsource’s 377MW Ivanpah power-tower project, which does not incorporate energy storage, recently flowed its first electricity to California’s grid. 

Torresol – owned by Spanish engineering firm Sener and Abu Dhabi-based Masdar – has largely gone quiet since the commissioning of Gemasolar.

However, Sener has continued to win work in the CSP sector, including a role on the EPC team at ACWA Power’s 50MW Bokpoort project, based on parabolic-trough technology, which recently broke ground in South Africa. 

Sener claims to have been involved in more than two dozen CSP plants over the years in Spain, the US and India. 

At the time of Gemasolar’s commissioning, Torresol predicted that power-tower designs would quickly come to dominate the CSP industry, given its many inherent advantages.

However, in many cases lenders still prefer the more widely deployed parabolic-trough technology.