• 4 minutes Tariffs to derail $83.7 Billion Chinese Investment in West Virginia
  • 9 minutes Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
  • 17 minutes Kaplan Says Rising Oil Prices Won't Hurt US Economy
  • 23 hours Tariffs to derail $83.7 Billion Chinese Investment in West Virginia
  • 2 hours Saudi Arabia turns to solar
  • 14 hours Kaplan Says Rising Oil Prices Won't Hurt US Economy
  • 8 hours Could oil demand collapse rapidly? Yup, sure could.
  • 2 hours Corruption On The Top: Netanyahu's Wife Charged With Misuse of Public Funds for Meals
  • 4 hours Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
  • 5 hours Russia's Energy Minister says Oil Prices Balanced at $75, so Wants to Increase OPEC + Russia Oil by 1.5 mbpd
  • 8 hours Gazprom Exports to EU Hit Record
  • 4 hours U.S. Withdraws From U.N. Human Rights Council
  • 9 hours OPEC Meeting Could End Without Decision - Irony Note Added from OPEC Children's Book
  • 13 hours China’s Plastic Waste Ban Will Leave 111 Million Tons of Trash With Nowhere To Go
  • 6 hours What If Canada Had Wind and Not Oilsands?
  • 7 hours "The Gasoline Car Is a Car With a Future"
  • 1 hour EU Confirms Trade Retaliation Measures vs. U.S. To Take Effect on June 22
  • 19 hours EVs Could Help Coal Demand
  • 7 hours Sell out now or hold on?
Permian Discount Could Rise To $20 Per Barrel

Permian Discount Could Rise To $20 Per Barrel

Midstream constraints plaguing Permian drillers…

Molten Salt Technology Allows US Solar Plant to Generate Electricity at Night

The US has just recently brought online a solar power plant that can produce electricity for the grid, even during the night. The 280 megawatt Solana solar power plant located on a three-square-mile commercial-scale facility near to Gila Bend, Arizona, uses a molten salt thermal energy storage system to allow it to continue generating energy even when the sun is no longer shining.

A press release from the Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s longest serving electric company, explained that “this technology enables Solana to produce electricity at full capacity for up to six hours after sunset, including the early evening hours when customer demand for power typically peaks in Arizona.”

Related article: IKEA Tries to Simplify Solar

APS claims that the Solana solar power plant is the largest in the world to use parabolic mirrors to focus the sun’s rays onto a system of pipes containing a synthetic oil. The hot oil then boils water, and the steam drives two 140 megawatt turbines to produce electricity.

The Solana solar power plant in Arizona
The Solana solar power plant in Arizona. (Arizona Experience)

Most concentrated solar power (CSP) plants work on a similar system, but unlike others, at night the turbines do not stop turning. During the day the heat reflected onto the tower is also used to heat molten salt, which holds its temperature for a long time. When the sun goes down the molten salt is used to heat the water and create the steam, and the electricity continues to be generated for up to an additional six hours.

Related article: Suntech Solar Reels as Directors Quit Over Cash Flow

Abengoa Solar, the operator of the Solana power plant, states that the “ability to generate electricity when needed, or dispatchability, is one of the unique characteristics of concentrating solar power versus other types of renewables.”

APS has already agreed to purchase all electricity produced at the solar power plant, boosting the amount of electricity it gets from solar power by almost 50%, and giving them enough capacity to supply an extra 70,000 homes. APS say that they plan to have 750 megawatts capacity of solar power by the end of the year, enough to supply 185,000 households.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Siva on August 03 2014 said:
    what type of salt is used to store heat energy

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News