What is being called the world’s first MicroCSP solar thermal power plant has been inaugurated at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii. The 2MW system uses 1000 proprietary Sopogy panels and covers 3.8 acres in the Kona desert area on the big island of Hawaii.
The array combines mirrors, optics, and an integrated tracker, allowing these panels to achieve higher efficiencies than conventional solar modules, according to Sopogy. The system also features a thermal energy storage buffer that permits energy to be produced during cloudy periods and to shift energy produced from the day to evening periods.
The project name–“Holaniku at Keahole Point”–comes from the Hawaiian term for a location that has everything required for self-sufficiency.
With the Holaniku installation completed, Sopogy has eight solar thermal energy facilities operating around the world. The MicroCSP technologies are being used in applications such as process heat, solar air conditioning, rooftop deployment, and power generation.
As part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, Sopogy and its local solar project development partner, Keahole Solar Power, have a goal to deploy 30MW of MicroCSP power in the state by 2015.