Abengoa started solar energy research with construction of components such as heliostats and facets for the Cesa Power Tower at the Almería Solar Complex. We later collaborated with Israel’s Weizmann Institute on the design and construction of its solar power tower project.
Abengoa Solar’s geographic strategy is based on the use of specialized teams in different locations for the promotion and sale of energy on the local level, manufacturing components at the regional level, and the development of new technologies on a global scale.
Abengoa Solar is a leader in solar tower technology, operating both PS10 and PS20 (Solucar Complex, Seville, Spain). Currently, Abengoa Solar is dedicating its efforts to a second generation tower, which is even more efficient because it reaches higher temperatures.
The solar power tower technology involves capturing solar radiation using a set of dual-axis mirrors (heliostats) that track the sun, and concentrate the reflect sunlight onto the receivers or receivers located on the top of the tower.
Thermal storage can be combined with tower technology to give a high degree of dispatchability.
Abengoa Solar has a proprietary technology that is available to third parties, and for use in its own plants. In solar tower technology, component design is one of the main keys to success, and in this case, it’s the heliostats. These heliostats are put together in each plant’s assembly area. In 2010, development began on new heliostats with technical and economical improvements. The heliostat structures may be acquired individually or together with the mirrors already mounted.
Abengoa Solar currently has seven 50-megawatt (MW) parabolic trough plants in commercial operation in Spain, and an additional 960 MW under construction around the world.
In a parabolic trough plant, a set of parabolic-shaped mirrors is set on a structure so they can track the movement of the sun and concentrate solar radiation onto a receiving tube. Inside the tube, a heat-absorbing fluid flows and reaches high temperatures. This fluid transfers the thermal energy into steam that is driven by a turbine to generate electricity.
Parabolic trough technology is a mature commercial technology, backed by 20 years of proven operational experience (SEGS plants, U.S.).
An important feature of this technology is the ability to integrate a thermal storage system to allow the power to be dispatched, thus continuing plant operation under cloud cover or at night.
Abengoa Solar has extensive expertise in parabolic trough technology through R&D work, as well as the construction and start-up of several plants that use this technology. With its TES pilot plant, Abengoa Solar has also gained experience in thermal storage systems that will be demonstrated for the first time in the United States with the six hour molten salt thermal storage system at Solana.
Abengoa Solar, in conjunction with Abengoa’s EPC company, offers the design, construction and start-up of parabolic trough plants. Key components, such as ASTRØ or E2 trough collectors, are also available for third party use. Abengoa Solar selects the appropriate trough collector for the specific project needs.
The parabolic troughs may be purchased either individually or together with mirrors and absorber tubes.
Photovoltaic (PV) generation is based on the property that certain semiconductor materials posess, electricity in general, is exposed to solar radiation.
Abengoa Solar has designed and commercialized a new concentration photovoltaic technology (HCPV) to maximize the solar resource, achieving concentrations of between 500 and 1,000 suns.
Modules may be purchased with the heliostats and sun trackers, separately or together and mounted.