solar thermal electric

Global CSP industry reaches 40 GW

CSP Today has released the third edition of its CSP World Map 2011 coinciding with the 5th edition of the CSP Today USA conference. The map shows 230 concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in planning, construction or operation around the globe.
Global CSP industry reaches 40 GW

“It is interesting to see year-to-year how the industry is developing and expanding. This year we have 230 plants, or 40GW globally in our pipeline” explaines Belén Gallego, founder of CSP Today and chief commissioner of the map, which also includes detailed maps for the main CSP markets including USA, Spain, Australia, China and MENA.

For further clarification and more user friendliness the document also has a detailed list of the main characteristics of each plant, such as EPC, developer, capacity and technology.

“We will be reviewing them quite often so we are looking to get feedback from the industry. You won´t find a most updated CSP today anywhere” comments Gallego.

Plant optimisation

Meanwhile, the leading business intelligence provider continues to publish more in its series of Technical Top Tips for plant developers. This time, the company Sun to Market discusses the need to analyse operational plant optimisation before financial closure of CSP projects.

“Many Indian project developers are very busy these days carrying out site assessments, solar resource analysis, negotiating with EPC/EPCM contractors and with financial entities. Therefore, it is quite normal that at this point in time nobody really thinks a lot about operational optimisation of CSP plants that will start operation in two years from now,” says Sun to Market.

To make it clear, the company is not talking about plant control systems; but is referring to dedicated dynamic plant optimisation software tools combined with hardware that might be able to forecast weather and plant production on an hourly and daily basis. “These tools provide plant operators with the opportunity to increase power production and decrease down time of their CSP plants,” says the company. “Nevertheless, we think that there are several economic and technical benefits that justify thinking in these tools right now, before financial closure.”

The first reason is that all involved parties, plant owner, EPC/EPCM contractor, financial institutions, regulator, insurance companies and, of course, the future plant operator, have an interest in a smooth, incidence-free and optimised plant operation. So, why not include the cost of this tool from day one into the project finance scheme?

Secondly, early weather data gathering (e.g. cloud movement) during construction phase and the use of leaning algorithms like neural networks will definitely improve the quality of the short-term prediction function, 1-3 hours, used during future plant operation.

Finally, from the technical stand point of view, shortly after starting the construction activities the dynamic optimisation tool can already be used as a simulator for the future plant operators.

Pump or valve failure, non-performing heat exchangers, broken collector tubes, dirty mirrors after sand storms, power restriction in the grid, etc. are costly incidences and countermeasures have to be taken immediately. All these events can and will likely happen during operation of your CSP plant. The question is: Are you prepared for it?

“We think that the best way to limit or mitigate the impact of these events is to have a well trained crew, which know how to prevent and fix these problems,” says the company, which has developed such optimisation software. “By using our validated dynamic simulation tool which is an image of your real plant in daily operation, your plant crew will be well prepared before even starting commissioning and operating of the plant. Imagine the advantage you will have in comparison with starting from scratch,” it adds.

As India is tipped to be the next CSP boom market, the Spanish Sun to Markets Solutions has established an Indian subsidiary, which is now providing services such as site assessment, solar resource analysis, feasibility studies, plant performance models, owners engineering and plant optimisation tools to Indian CSP project developers.

Sun to Market Solutions India Pvt. Limited will be speaking at the 2nd Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Summit India this April (12 – 13) in New Delhi. CSP Today is offering “Tech top tip” exclusive discounts of $50 when registering for the event. Jut quote: “SUNTRACE- TTT” when registering online at

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