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solar field

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The engineering and technology group Sener and Acciona Industrial have achieved another relevant milestone initiating the salt melting process at the Kathu Solar Park Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant. The molten salt will be used to store heat from the solar field that can later be recovered to produce steam and generate electricity in the absence of solar radiation, extending the operational capacity of the plant after sunset and during cloudy weather.

Thanks to this molten salt storage system, that allows 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage, the Kathu Solar Park CSP Plant will supply clean energy to 179,000 homes. The plant uses SENERtrough®-2 collectors, a parabolic trough technology, specifically designed and patented by SENER, aimed at improving efficiency of the solar field. The significance of this technology – SENERtrough®-2 and molten salt storage system – is that the CSP plant will not only supply power during sunny periods, but as needed to satisfy the peak of demand, without the considerable expense of battery storage.

Siyabonga Mbanjwa, Sener Regional Managing Director in Southern Africa, commented: “The use of molten salt as thermal energy storage system will allow Kathu Solar Park to operate in a cost-effective manner, storing the generated energy from the sun, producing and dispatching electricity, in absence of solar radiation, to satisfy the peak of demand. At Sener, our aim is to provide the most innovative technology, being compliant with Health & Safety stringent standards, to ensure an outstanding performance and thermal stability for a reliable and sustained energy supply.

Roberto Felipe, Chief Operating Officer of Acciona Industrial, said: “This project is technologically cutting-edge, and the complexity of both engineering and construction is only comparable to large infrastructure projects. At ACCIONA, we are committed to the social and economic development of the regions where our projects are located, and the positive impact this plant is having in Kathu and the surrounding areas is a reason for us to continue executing these projects with these high quality standards.

Kathu Solar Park is one of the awarded projects in bid window 3.5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP) led by the South African Department of Energy (DOE).

The joint venture between Sener and Acciona Industrial was appointed by the ENGIE led consortium to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. Construction started on site in May 2016 and is due for completion within the next few months. Approximately 1,400 jobs are being created during the construction phase. It is estimated that the Kathu Solar Park will save six million tonnes of CO2 over 20 years and will further promote local economic development through the KSP trust and the Kelebogile Trust, which has invested significantly in the local community thus far thereby making a meaningful contribution to the community of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality.

Source: Sener

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Aalborg CSP landed a new order to deliver an 8 MWth solar-thermal plant, which when completed will provide sustainable heating for 2,583 customers in the Copenhagen area. The solar field consisting of 11,312 m2 flat solar-thermal collectors will be the fifth green project that the company delivers in the country, thereby contributing to Denmark’s ambitious targets to become fossil fuel free by 2050.

Aalborg CSP received the order from the combined heat and power plant (Smørum Kraftvarmeværk A.m.b.A.) to deliver an 8 MWth solar heating plant that will reduce the facility’s natural gas dependency as well as stabilize energy prices. The 11,312 m2 solar field, which will be located in the town of Smørum, will consist of flat solar-thermal panels capable of producing 5,568 MWh heat annually. Aalborg CSP’s scope of supply also includes delivery of necessary technical installations and 2,2 km long piping for energy transmission.


Making renewable energy affordable

The solar heating plant is the fifth green project that the company builds in its home country that is known to be a pioneer in renewable energy solutions. Most recently, the company has completed a 16.6 MWth concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Denmark. Currently the plant produces heat only, but when the second phase of the project (a biomass-Organic Rankine Cycle system) also goes online in 2018, it will be the first one in the world to demonstrate how CSP can optimize efficiency of ORC even in areas with less sunshine.

Rapid construction and installation

Shortly after signing the agreement with the Danish CHP plant, construction commenced in Smørum with expected handover taking place by the end of this year. Altogether 56 rows of flat panels will be installed with up to 20 collectors placed in one row. These 13,3 m2 optimized panels have shown the highest performance among all known mass-produced large-scale solar collectors on the international market. The same collector type was also used in another Danish district heating plant (Solrød Fjernvarme) where they performed beyond expectations during Spring and Summer of 2017.

The system is expected to harvest the first sunrays of 2018. Besides offering a cost competitive solution for heat production, the solar plant also avoids the emission of at least 1,100 tons of CO2 annually.

Source: Aalborg CSP

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The SENER engineering and technology group is part of a consortium delivering the turnkey construction of three thermosolar facilities: NOORo I (already in commercial operation), NOORo II and NOORo III, as well as being the supplier of all the technology. For NOORo II, SENER installed its SENERtrough®-2 technology – a high-precision system that is the second generation of collectors named as such, having been designed and patented in their entirety by the engineering and construction firm SENER.

The scope of the work performed by SENER in NOORo II encompasses the conceptual and basic engineering, the engineering and construction of the solar field, the detailed engineering of various systems including the heat transfer fluid (HTF) and thermal storage systems, and the supply of critical equipment needed for its operation. Following the start of the works in 2015, SENER took charge of assembling the collector loops in a premises located on-site at the complex in Ouarzazate (Morocco), which is the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant on the planet. Subsequent responsibilities included the installation of the solar field, made up of 20,400 collectors arranged in 425 loops, running over 270 km in length and providing a total reflective area of 1.8 million square meters, distributed over an area of 700 hectares.


The NOORo II plant has a nominal power of 200 MWe, making it the largest in the world using parabolic trough technology. NOORo II also has 7,2 hours of molten salt heat storage, enabling it to continue providing the grid with electricity despite the absence of solar radiation. The NOORo II plant will save over 170,000 tons of CO2 emissions, with clean and safe energy being supplied to around 160,000 homes.

Source: SENER

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The Bokpoort concentrated solar plant, built by a joint venture headed up by Spain’s Sener, Acciona and TSK and South Africa’s Crowie, was inaugurated on 14 March near Upington in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

The Saudi group ACWA Power awarded the turnkey EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contract which has involved an investment of more than €300m.

The new CSP plant at Bokpoort is already in operation and has a gross capacity of 55 MW. It uses SENERtrough® parabolic trough collector technology with a 1,300 MWht system of two energy storage tanks using molten salts that provide 9.3 hours of operation.

The plant’s solar field consists of 180 loops, and its annual production will be over 230 GWh (net).


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Enerray, a company 100% controlled by Seci Energia (Maccaferri Industrial Group) through Enerray Usinas Fotovoltaicas, has won the Enel Green Power bid related to the construction of a new solar farm situated in the region of Ituverava, Brazil.

Construction of the solar farm, which is located in the State of Bahia in Brazil’s northeast, began in December 2015 and will have a total installed capacity of 254 MWp. Its estimated annual energy production will be around 500 GWh and the plant is scheduled to enter into operation by the end of 2017. The solar farm is expected to integrate single-axis trackers that allow the photovoltaic modules to vary their orientation during the day, depending on the position of the sun. This is the largest solar power plant to be built by Enel Green Power and will undoubtedly help meet Brazil’s fast-growing electricity demand. According to latest data, construction in this country is expected to grow at an average rate of 4% per annum up to 2020.

We believe that Brazil, a country in which our Group has been undertaking industrial activities for over 50 years, represents a great opportunity in the near future: in fact, it is market that offers considerable growth perspectives in both the medium- and long-term. Enerray aims to become a benchmark leader in Brazil’s renewable sector. Starting to build up the country’s largest solar farm is an achievement that makes us very proud and shows how important Brazil is for us”, commented Michele Scandellari, Enerray’s CEO.

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Solarpack, a Spanish multinational company specializing in the development, construction and operation of solar photovoltaic plants, has been selected to supply up to 110GWh p.a.(the equivalent to USD 7 MM), for a 20 year period to the Chilean Electricity Distributors that supply energy to the regulated segment of the country’s electricity consumers. The tender process under which Solarpack has been awarded was sponsored by the distribution companies and was organized under the supervision of the CNE (National Energy Commission under its Spanish acronym), the Ministry of Energy and the SEC (Electricity and Fuels Superintendence).

The total energy tendered was 1,200 GWh p.a., of which 550 corresponded to the daylight (8 a.m.to 6 p.m.) block.

To reach this production, Solarpack, through its Chilean subsidiary Amunche Solar SpA, will build a 55MWdc solar photovoltaic plant that must be completed by January 1, 2017. Solarpack has been awarded 10 sub-blocks of type 4b to supply up to 110GWh under the Supply Tender 2015/02. The other successful tenderers of this sub-block were First Solar and Aela Energía.DCIM101GOPRO

The future solar plant La Constitucion will supply clean energy to Chile’s regulated energy consumers, who will benefit from Solarpack’s bid price – the lowest among the tenderers – of 64.849 USD/MWh. A relevant highlight of this tender is that the bids from renewable energy companies resulted more competitive than the large traditional energy companies, leaving them unawarded.

Solarpack already has three other photovoltaic plants in Chile: Calama Solar, which was the first utility scale plant in South America with an installed capacity of 1.1MWdc; Pozo Almonte Solar 2-3, which with a capacity of 25.4 MWdc meets 13% of Doña Inés de Collahuasi mining company’s demand, and; Pozo Almonte Solar 1, of 10.5 MWdc that is connected to the SING system.

In addition to the Chilean projects, Solarpack manages a broad portfolio of projects in Spain, India, Peru, USA, Uruguay Mexico and South Africa.  Solarpack has also finalized the construction of 62MWdc in Peru and 34.6 MWdc in Spain.

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Aalborg CSP has begun construction of the world’s first integrated energy system based on CSP to satisfy multiple energy needs of Sundrop Farms’ greenhouses in the South Australian desert, and at the lowest possible cost throughout the year. In the first phase, a 51,500 m2 solar field consisting of more than 23,000 heliostats will be installed. The integrated energy system is the first large-scale CSP-based technology in the world to provide multiple energy streams (heating, fresh water and electricity) for horticultural activities.

The groundbreaking concept to grow high-value crops using seawater and sunlight as main resources originates from Sundrop Farms, which began testing its integrated system at a small scale in 2010. The company’s positive operational experience from its pilot plant encouraged the large-scale application of the technology, expanding operations to 200,000 m2 with the aim to produce over 15,000 t of fresh vegetables annually for Australian consumers.

The state-of-the-art system is based on CSP tower technology and it will be capable of heating the greenhouse in wintertime and on cold summer nights, to provide fresh water by desalinating seawater drawn from the nearby Spencer Gulf, and to periodically run a steam turbine to produce electricity.

aalborg_csp_australia2The integrated energy system will stretch over 140,000 m2. As a first phase of the construction, Aalborg CSP, turnkey supplier of the solar plant and the power-block, has commenced installation of the solar field with the aim to set up more than 23,000 heliostats delivered by California-based company eSolar. Within a few months, the heliostats will occupy 51,500 m2 of the total area. The heliostats will collect the sun’s rays and reflect them onto the top of a 116 m high solar tower. The collected solar energy will be converted to steam which will then be used for multiple purposes, including seawater desalination, heating and electricity production.

Once commissioned in the second half of 2016, the integrated energy system will prove a new platform to address major global energy challenges. Besides offering a cost-competitive alternative to conventional energy technologies, the system will contribute to a greener future as it avoids the emission of at least 14,700 t of CO2 annually.

SAJ Electric