Automated solar power plant produces electricity day and night

Europe’s first large-scale solar energy plant – the 100 MW Andasol 1 and 2 in the Sierra Nevada of southern Spain – is opening up a new era in renewable emissions-free power generation

The innovative process is controlled by ABB’s Extended Automation System 800xA.

Andasol 1 has started its test run and will be connected to the Spanish grid after the successful completion of this trial period – Andasol 2 will go into operation in 2009. The power plants are located in one of the sunniest parts of Spain, the desert-like heights of the Sierra Nevada in Andalusia. Andasol 1 is the first parabolic trough power plant in Europe, and the largest solar power plant in the world.
Andasol 1 and 2 will each generate 50 MW of emissions-free electricity using innovative technology that captures and concentrates sunlight in two vast solar fields of trough- shaped parabolic mirrors. The technology converts the solar radiation into heat, which is pumped to adjacent power plants where it generates electric power from steam turbines.

Both power plants will be controlled by ABB’s Extended Automation System 800xA and ABB Power Generation Portal™ software. The power generated at the plants will be delivered to the local grid via ABB power transformers and substation equipment.
Andasol 1 and 2 will produce about 350 GWh of electricity per year, enough to power 100,000 Spanish households, and displace about 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

Each power plant has its own 50 hectare solar field containing 624 parabolic troughs arranged in 156 loops. The fields produce up to twice the thermal energy that can be absorbed by the plants’ steam turbines. The excess energy is stored in liquid salt tanks for up to seven hours, thereby ensuring a continuous and stable supply of electric power to the grid – even in the middle of the night. With the Andasol power plants, the German developer Solar Millennium AG has taken the first steps in a market set for enormous growth - by 2020, a variety of studies and/or institutions predict a worldwide installed solar thermal capacity of at least 20,000 MW.

ABB has unrivalled expertise in supplying distributed control systems for power generation technologies - from conventional coal- or gas- fired plants to renewable technologies like solar energy. System 800xA is the only distributed control system compatible with all leading communication protocols, and Power Generation Portal is one of the most widely used information platforms in the world with an installed base of more than 1,000 systems.

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