Solana Generating Station
The Solana Generating Station is a solar power plant near Gila Bend, Arizona, about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Phoenix, completed in 2013. When commissioned it was the largest parabolic trough plant in the world and the first U.S. solar plant with molten salt thermal energy storage. Built by the Spanish company Abengoa Solar, it has a total capacity of 280 megawatts (MW) gross, from two 140 MW gross (125 MW net) steam turbine generators, which is enough to power 70,000 homes while avoiding around 475,000 tons of CO2 every year. Its name is the Spanish term for "sunny spot".
|Solana Generating Station Project|
Assembly of the parabolic mirrors
|Construction began||December 2010|
|Construction cost||US$2 billion|
Liberty Interactive Corporation
|Operator(s)||Arizona Solar One LLC|
|CSP technology||Parabolic trough|
|Total collector area||2,233,958 square metres (552.023 acres)|
|Site area||1,920 acres (780 ha)|
|Make and model||Siemens|
|Nameplate capacity||280 MW|
|Storage capacity||6 hours|
|Annual net output||724 GW·h (2017)|
The plant employs a proprietary concentrating solar power (CSP) trough technology developed by Abengoa, and covers an area of 1,920 acres (780 ha). Construction was expected to create about 1,500 construction jobs with the plant employing 85 full-time workers. Solar thermal plants use substantially more water for cooling than other solar generating technologies. Nevertheless, the Sierra Club supports the Solana plant, because it will be built on private land, and use "75 to 85 percent less water than the current agricultural use."
Arizona Public Service (APS) has contracted to purchase 100% of the power output generated from Solana, to meet the Arizona Corporation Commission's (ACC) mandate that the state's regulated utilities provide 15% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. APS will pay about 14 cents per kWh. The Solana plant was originally planned to open in 2011 and was estimated to cost $2 billion. In December 2010, Abengoa received a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to support construction of the plant.
One of the principal advantages of concentrated solar thermal (CST) is that thermal energy storage can be provided efficiently, so that output can be provided after the sun goes down, and output can be scheduled to meet demand requirements. The Solana Generating Station is designed to provide six hours of energy storage. This allows the plant to generate about 38 percent of its rated capacity over the course of a year.
Solana Generating Station's production is as follows.
Projected full production is 944,000 MW·h (994 GW·h). At the end of the second full year of operation, the Solana Generating Station is still operating 25 percent below the projected full production value.
In the summer of 2017, the plant had two transformer fires. As a result, the plant’s output was cut by more than half of its expected output for the year. The Phoenix New Times described the state of the Solana plant as "problems keep appearing like black clouds to dampen its performance." The plant also went through some other challenging issues. For example, Maricopa County environmental officials are looking into whether the plant violated air pollution standards. In 2016, Maricopa County fined the plant $1.5 million for violations of air quality standards. According to the Phoenix New Times, "The plant’s parent company, a subsidiary of Abengoa called Atlantica Yield, downplayed the issues, and a company representative said that better times are likely ahead."
The plant opened in 2014 and has suffered a number of problems since its opening. According to government documents, the plant should be producing more than 900,000 MWh every year. This amount of electricity could power about 65,000 typical homes in Arizona. However, the plant produced only 600,000 MWh in its first full year of operation, according to information from the Federal Energy Information Administration. In 2015, the output increased to 700,000 MWh. In the summer of 2016, a microburst "knocked out the plant that July."
- "Our Assets". Atlantica Yield (was Abengoa Yield). 2 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- "Solana Project Description". Atlantica Yield (was Abengoa Yield). Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- Mearian, Lucas. U.S. flips switch on massive solar power array that also stores electricity: The array is first large U.S. solar plant with a thermal energy storage system, October 10, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "Solana, the largest parabolic trough plant in the world". Abengoa. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
- "Solana" in wordreference.com
- Abengoa to Build 280MW Concentrating Solar Power Plant in Arizona Archived 2013-10-19 at the Wayback Machine., CleanEdge.com website, February 21, 2008.
- Lavelle, Marianne. Big Solar Project Planned for Arizona Desert: $1 billion installation would use parabolic mirrors to generate power southwest of Phoenix Archived 2009-08-28 at the Wayback Machine., U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 2008.
- Gelt, Joe (2008). "Clean, Green Solar Power Falls Short in Achieving Water Efficiency". Arizona Water Resource (Arizona Water Resource, vol. 17, no. 1, 16pp., Water Resources Research Center, Tucson, AZ, Autumn 2008). University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Randazzo, Ryan (February 21, 2008). "Plant to brighten state's solar future". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- Randazzo, Ryan (July 3, 2010). "Arizona solar plant gets big boost from feds". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "Abengoa closes $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee for Arizona solar farm". Reuters. Dec 21, 2010.
- Wright, matthew; Hearps, Patrick; et al. Australian Sustainable Energy: Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, Energy Research Institute, University of Melbourne, October 2010, p. 33. Retrieved from BeyondZeroEmissions.org website.
- Innovation in Concentrating Thermal Solar Power (CSP), RenewableEnergyFocus.com website.
- Solana: 10 Facts You Didn't Know About the Concentrated Solar Power Plant Near Gila Bend
- "Solana Generating Station, Monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
- "Solana Generating Station". Concentrating Solar Power Projects. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). February 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- Stern, Ray (2017-08-30). "Dark Clouds — Transformer Fires and Air Pollution — Continue to Follow Solana Power Plant". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- Wald, Matthew L. Arizona Utility Tries Storing Solar Energy for Use in the Dark, The New York Times, October 18, 2013, p. B1 (New York edition); also published online at NYTimes.com on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013. Discusses BrightSource Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Ivanpah Solar Power Facility project, and the Solana Generating Station project.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Solana Generating Station.|
- "Solana Generating Station Project". Abengoa Solar Inc. Archived from the original on 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- "APS :: Solana - Arizona's Largest Solar Power Plant". Arizona Public Service (APS). Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Arizona Utility to Buy Power from a 280-Megawatt Solar Power Plant