247Solar to use advanced Chinese heliostats; Cerro Dominador starts salt melting

Our pick of the latest solar thermal news you need to know.

Modular CSP developer 247Solar to install advanced Chinese heliostats

CSP developer 247Solar has signed a deal with China's CASEN for the supply of heliostats and control systems at its first demonstration high-temperature Brayton cycle CSP plant module in Morocco, the companies said in a joint statement February 20.

247Solar is currently building its first fully-operational demonstration module at the Ouarzazate solar park in central Morocco. Due online this year, the plant will have a capacity of 400kW and 10 to 13 hours of thermal energy storage.

The CASEN heliostats are controlled wirelessly, reducing wiring costs, and rotated using solar cells and batteries integrated into each unit. The mirrors are stowed at night facing the ground, reducing the risk of adverse weather impact and buildup of moisture and dirt on the mirror surfaces.

"CASEN’s unique technology will be a significant contributor to the low CAPEX and [operations and maintenance] costs and to the rapid deployment that are hallmarks of our modular, scalable 247Solar Plants,” Bruce Anderson, CEO of 247Solar, said

Supported by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), the Ouarzazate project marks a significant step towards commercial deployment for 247Solar's modular plant technology.

The first commercial 247Solar plants would consist of modular arrays of 400kW CSP tower plants, each providing power through a small turbine. Upon wider deployment, these modules would be expanded to 5 MW units.

247Solar is among a number of CSP developers using cutting-edge higher temperature heat transfer systems to increase plant efficiency.

247Solar is targeting a CAPEX of $5,900/kWe for the first 10 MW commercial system and 1 GW of deployment could lower the CAPEX to $3,000/kWe, Bruce Anderson, the company's CEO, told New Energy Update last year.

                  Global levelized costs for solar, wind in 2010-2022

                                                             (Click image to enlarge)

Source: IRENA's 'Renewable power generation costs in 2018' report (May 2019).

Cerro Dominador builders start molten salt melting

Salt melting has begun on schedule at the 110 MW Cerro Dominador CSP project in Chile, a key step ahead of commercial start-up later this year, engineering partner MMYPEM said in a statement.

Located on a 146-hectare site in the Atacama Desert, the Cerro Dominador plant is Latin America's first CSP plant and features a record 17.5 hours of molten salt thermal energy storage capacity.

Owned by EIG Global Energy Partners, the plant will be combined with an operational 100 MW PV plant to supply power 24 hours a day.

The project is being built by an EPC consortium owned by Acciona (51%) and technology supplier Abengoa (49%) under a turnkey contract.

In July 2018, Acciona and Abengoa resumed construction of the plant following a two-year stoppage. The project was halted in 2016 when Abengoa, originally co-owner of the project and EPC supplier, underwent financial restructuring and transferred its stake to EIG.

Back in 2014, the Chilean government awarded the project a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) at a price of $114/MWh.

Since then, global CSP costs have fallen dramatically and spurred interest from energy-intensive companies, including Chile's large mining community.

In December, Cerro Dominador secured a five-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Chilean fuel distributor Copec. The new PPA will start in July 2020 and supply 50% of Copec's energy needs, reducing its annual CO2 emissions by 19,850 tons. The contract will cover 72 Copec service stations, almost all of Copec's electricity charging stations and eight of its 16 industrial plants in Chile.

Last October, Cerro Dominador acquired the rights to SolarReserve's 450 MW Likana CSP project in northern Chile. Cerro Dominador is preparing to bid the Likana project into Chile's next power auction in June.

The price of the Likana project will set a new record for the CSP industry, undercutting prices set recently in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Fernando Gonzalez, CEO of Cerro Dominador, told New Energy Update's CSP Madrid 2019 conference in November.

New Energy Update