Optimal Size of Solar Plant 300MW

DFN: To get to Blythe, take US10 from LA on the way to Phoenix, its on the California side of the Colorado River. Interestingly, most of Calpine’s power plants (natural gas fired) were around this size also.

Solar Millennium Sees 300 Megawatts as ‘Optimal’ Plant Size, Adviser Says
By Jeremy van Loon – Aug 31, 2010 7:34 AM PT

Solar Millennium AG, the German maker of solar-energy systems, considers the “optimal” size of power plants using solar-thermal technology to be 300 megawatts, a senior adviser to the company said.

Building them any larger than 300 megawatts, about a third the size of a large coal generator, creates difficulties with logistics and management, said Fritz-Dieter Doenitz, a physicist who advises Solar Millennium on technical issues, in an interview in Berlin.

Solar Millennium develops and produces parabolic collectors that concentrate sunlight using arrays of mirrors to make steam and turn electric turbines. The U.S. southwest and Spain, with some of the world’s highest solar radiation levels, are attracting the most investment in the technology, which is also called concentrated solar power.

State regulators last month approved Southern California Edison Co.’s contract to buy two 242-megawatt facilities that will use parabolic trough technology from Solar Millennium. The project, known as CA Solar 10, will be built near Blythe by Solar Trust of America LLC, a joint venture between Solar Millennium and German contractor Man Ferrostaal AG.

California has had nine CSP plants in operation since 1984 which have generated $3 billion worth of electricity, Doenitz said today.

Spain limits the maximum size of CSP systems to 50 megawatts, said Doenitz. That means construction and operation of multiple 50-megawatt plants run in a series are more complicated, he added.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Berlin at jvanloon.


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