The largest single-unit solar power plant in the world is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and officially open in the first quarter of 2013, solar power giant Masdar has announced. Shams 1 will have a generation capacity of over 100 MW of power, and was built with the stated purpose of providing 20,000 homes in the region with electricity. The project will be followed shortly thereafter by Shams 2 & 3, which are planned to generate similar levels of electricity.
Yousuf Al Ali, general manager of Shams Power Company, said: “Shams 1 is the largest concentrated solar power project in the world. Developing a project of this scale is a significant achievement for Abu Dhabi, Masdar and its partners, Total and Abengoa.”
There are larger “solar power plants” or “solar power projects,” but they include multiple solar plants of less than 100 MW. (For example, the Solnova Solar Power Station in Spain has five CSP plants of 50 MW each that make the overall project 250 MW in size, and the Gujarat Solar Park in India includes multiple solar PV projects that total 600 MW.)
Construction of the Shams 1 project began back in the third quarter of 2010, at a total cost of approximately $600 million dollars.
Al Ali continues: “Once completed, Shams 1 will be one of the largest concentrated solar power [CSP] plants in the world, extending over an area of 2.5 square kilometres with a capacity of approximately 100 MW.” (You can see here that even Al Ali has switched from calling it the “largest” CSP plant to “one of the largest” CSP plants.)
Shams 1 is a joint venture that is 60% owned by Masdar, 20% by Total, and 20% by Abengoa.
The project was developed under a contract that ensures ownership and continued operation for 25 years. “Companies that took part in the development of the project offered unique technology to operate the system,” he said.
Once finished, it will consist of 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors, 192 solar collector assembly loops with 8 solar collector assemblies per loop, 768 solar collector assembly units, and 27,648 absorber pipes.
“It uses the CSP technology and parabola shapes means that solar thermal electricity is generated by focusing sunlight, concentrated by mirrors, reflects to heat a coolant which then generates high-pressure steam to drive a steam turbine,” Al Ali said.
“As one of Masdar’s flagship projects, Shams 1 will directly contribute to Abu Dhabi’s target of achieving 7 per cent renewable energy power generation capacity by the year 2020.”
This article was originally published on CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission.