Developer of utility-scale solar energy projects, SolarReserve, and Pereal, renewable energy project developer, have received the environmental permit required for the construction of a 50MW solar thermal power project in Spain.
The government of Castilla-La Mancha has issued a Declaración de Impacto Ambiental for the Alcázar Solar Thermal Power Project that is being developed near the town of Alcázar de San Juan, about 180km south of Madrid. The project will generate more than 300,000MW/h of electricity annually.
SolarReserve uses exclusive molten salt solar power technology, licensed by United Technologies Corporation (UTC), to turn the sun’s heat into electricity. This technology works by using a tower that resides in the center of a heliostat (mirror) field. The heliostats focus concentrated sunlight on a receiver on top of the tower. Within the receiver, the concentrated sunlight heats molten salt to over 1000ºF. The heated molten salt then flows into a thermal storage tank where it is stored, maintaining 98% thermal efficiency, and eventually pumped to a steam generator – this in turn creates electricity. The project, once up-and-running, will utilize a dry-cooled design requiring just 15% of the water consumed by comparable solar thermal projects with wet cooling.
“SolarReserve is thrilled by this opportunity to work with our partner Preneal to bring our world-leading molten-salt solar thermal power technology to Spain, a global leader in solar power plant development and a key market for our worldwide power project development efforts,” said Kevin Smith, SolarReserve’s CEO. “U.S. and Spanish government support and cooperation for renewable energy technology advancement plus strong regional support in Castilla-La Mancha are keys to the project’s success.”
“The Alcázar Solar Thermal Power Project will be a showcase facility for Spain and the Castilla-La Mancha region for this leading-edge solar thermal power technology,” said Eduardo Merigó González, Preneal’s president. “In addition to the economic and employment benefits for Castilla-La Mancha, a number of Spanish companies have been involved in the development of the project with others expected to contribute to the application of this world-class technology in Spain.”
The project is expected to begin construction in 2010 bringing significant local economic and employment benefits to the region.