March 30 (SeeNews) - Spanish group Abengoa SA (BME:ABG) and its partners in the 50-MW Khi Solar One project have completed 24 consecutive hours of commercial operation of the solar tower plant in South Africa.
The concentrating solar power (CSP) station uses storage technology that accumulates steam at high temperatures and pressure so that the power plant can produce electricity after sunset. Abengoa previously operated a pilot 5-MWt plant where it optimised that type of storage technology.
By design, the storage system at Khi Solar One can produce 50 MW for two hours after sunset, but the decline in power demand at night allows for the operation of the plant below full power. Abengoa says that this is the first thermal solar tower plant in Africa and the first tower plant to achieve 24 hours of operation with solar energy only.
The Khi Solar One park is owned by Abengoa, South Africa-based development finance group Industrial Development Corp (IDC) and the Khi Community Trust. It reached commercial operation on February 2, 2016 and is estimated to produce enough power annually to meet the needs of some 45,000 South African homes.
Abengoa and IDC are currently working on another CSP project in the country, together with the Public Investment Corp (PIC) and KaXu Community Trust. The 100-MW Xina Solar One project will use parabolic trough technology and will have five hours of storage capacity.