Thailand solar thermal plant construction. Pic from Recharge

Solar thermal on the march: Thailand and South Africa

Solar thermal technology is still moving forward around the world.

Thailand’s first solar thermal power plant is now online. Recharge reported:

Thailand solar thermal plant construction. Pic from Recharge
Khanchanaburi solar thermal plant in construction. Pic from Recharge.

German developer Solarlite has taken 18 months to build the 5MW plant for Thai ­Solar Energy in the western province of Kanchanaburi, 350km northwest of Bangkok.

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The plant is spread across 110,000 square metres and consists of 32 parabolic troughs, each 360 metres in length that will rotate from east to west to track the Sun.

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Solarlite has contracts to build three more plants of 9MW each in Thailand, and has signed a memorandum of understanding to build ten more.

Meanwhile, South Africa is looking at some large scale renewable energy development.On top of eight wind farm projects totalling 634MW, they are developing South Africa’s first solar-thermal power plants. SolarServer reports:

On December 7th, 2011 South Africa’s Department of Energy (DoE) announced preferred bidders to develop 632 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) and 150 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants as the first round of its Renewable Energy Independent Procurement Program.

Abengoa PS10 Solar Thermal plant, Spain. Pic:

Included in the 632 MW of PV, the DoE selected Soitec SA (Bernin, France) to build a 36MW concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) Plant in Touwsrivier in South Africa’s Western Cape region. The DoE also chose Abengoa SA (Seville, Spain) to develop all 150 MW of CSP in two projects, a 50 MW solar power tower project and a 100 MW parabolic trough plant.

“Being awarded these two new projects is the best proof of the ongoing advances in CSP technology as a result of the important investments in R&D programs that the sector and specifically Abengoa are making,” stated Abengoa CEO Manuel Sanchez Ortega.

“CSP will play a key role in the 21st century energy mix as it is clean, dispatchable, renewable and able to be stored.”

Khi Solar One to be Abengoa’s first solar tower outside of Spain

The DoE announced its “preferred bidders” at the COP17 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is currently underway in Durban, South Africa.

Among the projects approved were Abengoa’s 50MW Khi Solar One plant, which will use a solar tower design, and 100MW KaXu Solar One plant, which will use a parabolic trough design. Abengoa will own 51% of each project, with the remaining 49% to be held by the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (Johannesburg, South Africa).

Khi Solar One will be Abengoa’s third commercial solar tower CSP plant and the first that it will build outside of Spain. Abengoa states that the plant is more efficient than previous designs and uses higher temperatures during the generation process.

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