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Innovative solar storage system guarantees reliable power even after sun sets

29 April 2014
Innovative solar storage system guarantees reliable power even after sun sets

LONDON: A Spanish solar energy plant has received an international award for developing a system for thermal heat storage which allows it to operate at full capacity after nightfall.

The Gemasolar plant, which was built by Torresol Energy, is driving the solar industry forward by providing reliable and effective solar power even after the sun sets.

Peak electricity demand is often during the evenings, yet prior to this technological breakthrough, solar energy was believed to be ill-equipped to meet after-dark need. However, by using a molten salt storage tank, the Spanish plant can generate electricity for 15 hours irrespective of time of day or weather conditions. For a number of months each year, the plant can also produce sufficient electricity for the full 24 hours.

The 20 megawatts of electricity which the plant produces, is the equivalent power needed to meet 25,000 homes annual need. In addition, this solar plant cuts carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30,000 tons a year.

DESERTEC, an organization which aims to harness the energy produced from arid areas, has recognized the revolutionary nature of the plant by honoring this 2014 award. Competition was stiff, with Andasol, Puerto Errado 2 and SHAMS 1 also nominated for the prize.

To determine who receives the prestigious accolade, DESERTEC examines whether the technology has the potential to be developed to ensure communities in arid areas have access to a sustainable source of energy all year round.

The organization examines all facets of the nominated plants’ operations, including economic viability and supply security, as well as the social and environmental impacts of renewable energy projects located in deserts. 

Dr. Ignacio Campino, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the DESERTEC Foundation, remarked: “In the last years, more and more power plants were built to utilize renewable energy sources available in deserts and arid regions. They are trend-setters for the future carbon-free energy supply of the world.”

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