280 MW Sun Power Plant in Arizona, USA

The Spanish company Abengoa Solar, one of the leaders in developing and building large solar plants, has signed a contract with Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) – the largest energy utility in the state of Arizona (USA), to build a 280 MW solar power plant, scheduled to go into operation by 2011.

The solar plant will be located about 100 km west of Phoenix, near Gila Bend, Arizona. It has been named Solana, meaning “a sunny place” in Spanish. The plant will employ a proprietary Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) trough technology developed by Abengoa Solar. It will cover a surface of around 1,900 acres.

The solar trough technology uses trackers with high precision parabolic mirrors that follow the sun’s path and concentrate its energy, heating a fluid to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit and using that heat to turn steam turbines. The solar plant will also include a thermal energy storage system that allows for electricity to be produced as required, even after the sun has set.

The operational scheme is similar to that of Solnova 1 (Spain), with the addition of storage capacity as shown in the diagram below.

Parabolic trough systems use an absorber tube as the collector. Solar radiation is reflected from the parabolic trough to the focal point of the parabola. The absorber tube is located at the focal point and it transfers the solar radiation energy to the working fluid. This energy is then used to run a conventional power cycle.

A large benefit of parabolic trough systems compared to other solar technologies is its maturity as a technology for being installed at a commercial level. The first trough plants were installed in the US in the 1980’s and have since undergone vast improvement both in cost and efficiency.

For more information on Abengoa Solar’s solar trough technology, please visit their website at:

Power. Flexible. Easergy.
BeijingSifang June 2016