Reported from CSPPLAZA: Ivanpah, Solana and Crescent Dunes, regarded as landmark in the history of CSP plants development, have attracted attention of people across the world, especially in China market. Given that Crescent Dunes has been in operation for three years since formally put into operation in February, 2016, CSPPLAZA makes tables of three plants’ electricity production to see their performance.
It is in the United States that large-scale commercialized solar thermal power plants up to hundreds of megawatt was initially developed, then followed by other emerging markets, like Morocco, South Africa ,Dubai and China. The mainstream capacity of CSP plants ranges from 50 MW to more than 100 MW in Spain, showing that single plant development capacity trend of commercialized plants is getting larger. For example, in Morocco Noor projects,the capacity of a single plant are over 100MW,and in Dubai projects,single trough project capacity reach to 200MW,and in China there are 2 projects over 100MW capacity in China’s first batch of demonstration project complete or under construction.
However, larger scale in plants, more challenges to technology, which obviously increases the complexity in debugging and operating the system and ultimately significantly affects the actual performance in process of generation. The following graph shows how five famous large-scale CSP plants in US perform in generating capacity. They are 392 MW Ivanpah tower plant, 110 MW Crescent Dunes molten salt tower plant, 280 MW Solana parabolic trough plant, 250 MW Mojave Solar parabolic trough plant and 250 MW Genesis Solar parabolic trough plant.
Ivanpah, Solana and Crescent Dunes are three well-known CSP plants. The project owner of Ivanpah – BrightSource – will apply its technology in Dubai 100MW tower together with Chinese enterprises SEC ; Solana and Crescent Dunes are respectively benchmark for large-scale parabolic trough plant with heat storage system and molten salt tower CSP power plant. Until now, they have all been operated for more than three years, CSPPLAZA makes tables of three plants’ electricity production to see their performance.
According to NREL data：
Solana power plant with heat storage system up to 6 hours, whose designed annual output is 944,000MWh, has been combined to the grid in October, 2013.
Ivanpah without heat storage, which should supply electricity 975,000MWh per year defined in PPA agreement, has been formally put into operation and combined to the grid in February, 2014.
Crescent dunes power plant with 10 hours of heat storage, whose designed annual output is 500,000MWh, has been combined to the grid in February, 2016.
Solana’s designed generating capacity monthly on average is 78667MWh. As can be seen from the above table, in 2018,Solana reached about 85% expected output,better than 2017.
The Ivanpah power plant is designed to generate 81250 MWh of electricity per month, and in 2018,reached about 75%,slightly increase compared to 2017.
While the power generation of Crescent Dune power plant should generated electricity of 41667MWh monthly as designed, but in 2018 still far from expected after three years transaction period.
Though tower projects performance are not satisfactory, it still consider a popular mode of CSP, By the end of 2018,more large-scale molten salt tower plants are connected to the grid in China and morocco,and there are more to be complete in the near future around the world.