GE Buys Into 50 MW Concentrated Solar Power Plant

GE Energy will expand its presence in the lucrative Spanish solar energy market in a €111 million deal with German fund KGAL to buy into the 50 megawatt (MW) Extresol II concentrated solar power plant. Extresol II utilises molten salt technology for energy storage, allowing the plant to supply electricity at night.
The solar farm was developed by one of Europe’s biggest manufacturers of solar power facilities, ACS-Cobra, which has a proven pedigree in the business, having built the Andasol 1 and Andasol 2 CSP plants in Spain. Although precise details have not been released by the companies, it is understood ACS will maintain operational control of the Extresol solar farm.
Like Terresol Energy’s recently completed Gemasolar Concentrating Solar Power facility, the Extresol II functions much like a standard CSP facility: a field of heliostat mirrors focus sunlight onto a receiver mounted atop a tower which heats a thermal liquid which in turn boils water. The high-pressure steam created is used to drive electric turbines. 
In a molten salt storage system, some of the heat collected is used to melt a special type of salt which can be used at night to boil water to create steam and run the turbines. According to ACS, the heat stored in the system provides for around 7.5 hours of electricity after the sun goes down.
According to GE, the Extresol II will generate enough renewable electricity to power approximately 37,900 average Spanish households and avoid 149,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Spain was the first country to use concentrated solar power integrated with molten salt storage and is fast becoming the major large-scale solar power contributor to the European Community’s 20/20/20 goal, which aims at generating 20 percent of all power from renewable sources, reducing emissions by 20 percent and increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2020. 
So far sixteen 50MW plants have been built in the country, with 25 further planned or under construction.