Small scale modular CSP plants can offer market solutions in industrial applications and grid-limited markets. Modular plants can provide multiple benefits as they can be built in phases, the installation costs are lower as no construction is involved and standardization can reduce the technology risk.
Selecting the optimum size for CSP plants is a critical challenge not just from a technology approach but also from a financial point of view. With the opening of the 280 MW Solana plant early this month, its three major new projects have come online in the recent months. The world’s largest CSP plant, the 377 MW Ivanpah facility has connected to the grid and is due to start full operation in the next few months. In a similar situation is the 110 MW Crescent Dunes plant, which will become the largest solar power tower plant operating with molten salt storage. They can all deliver electricity to the grid during day and night.
Large tower plants with molten salts work at higher temperatures, 565º, translating into greater efficiency of the plant. Large tower projects also remove kilometres of oil pipeline, reducing heat loss and keeping maintenance costs down.
“As the CSP technology develops in multiple markets and these large scale projects prove their performance, we’ll see a big reduction in costs due to economies of scale. This will encourage governments and banks to invest in CSP projects worldwide”, explained Brandon Páramo, Project Manager at CSP Today.
At CSP Today Enhance Plant Engineering (12-13 November, Sevilla), SolarReserve, Torresol and other leading companies such as Acciona and ACS Cobra will be discussing on how to achieve substantial cost reduction by increasing the size of a plant.
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