Home / Focus / Core Data Disclosed Initially: How’s The Performance Of China’s First Commercialized Molten Salt Tower CSP Plant After One-year Operation?

Core Data Disclosed Initially: How’s The Performance Of China’s First Commercialized Molten Salt Tower CSP Plant After One-year Operation?

Reported from CSPPLAZA:”Up to now, SUPCON Delingha 10MW tower CSP plant has operated stably, and accumulated electric output has steadily increased. It is worth mentioning that the completion rate of electric output of 98.7% reached highest in November, 2016. The plant has operated for 251 days in 2016 with accumulated electric output of 8,660,000kWh, accounting for 92.1% of design annual generation capacity. During the five months since April this year, the average completion rate of electric output has reached 95.7%.” said Jin Jianxiang, president of Zhejiang SUPCON Solar Technology Co.,Ltd. (referred to as SUPCON) in the second Delingha CSP conference, in which for the first time Jin disclosed SUPCON 10MW molten salt tower CSP plant’s operational data since its grid-connected power generation in August 20th, 2016.

SUPCON 10MW molten salt tower CSP plant had all loops work for one time and successfully began its grid-connected power generation in August 20th,2016,and at 3:45 p.m. in August 21th, the plant started operation at full load. This plant marks the operation of China’s first commercialized CSP plant with thermal energy storage system (TES), and also world’s third CSP tower plant with TES.



Floor area


Annual DNI


Heliostat field aperture area

63,000m2( Scale: 2m2, 21,500 sets; 20m2 1,000 sets)

Design point power generation efficiency


Highest temperature of molten salt


overheating steam parameter


Largest on-line electric power


Thermal energy storage

2 hours

Annual average efficiency


Design annual electric output


table: introduction to SUPCON 10MW tower CSP plant

Jin has made a brief analysis on the generation efficiency of this 10MW CSP tower plant on the conference. It is learned that the plant uses 21,500 sets of 2m2 heliostats and 1,000 sets of 20m2 heliostats with design efficiency of concentrator field of 68.9%, receiver efficiency of 82% (to better serve two different scale of heliostats, the surface area of receiver is designed to be large). Heat storage and transfer efficiency is 98%, and the design annual power generation efficiency is 9,400,000kWh. In the circumstance of full load of 8MW on-line electric power, steam turbines’ efficiency reaches 28.7% with annual average efficiency only at 25%-26%, and the temperature of steam can reach 510℃ with 8.83MPa pressure. Besides, the annual average efficiency of the whole plant can reach 7.65%.

Term SUPCON 10MW CSP plant SUPCON 50MW CSP plant
Concentrating efficiency(heliostat field effciency*reflectance rate*cleanness*intercept rate) 68.9%(design point) 60.4%(design point)
Receiver efficiency 82% 88%
Heat storage and transfer efficiency 98% 99%
Steam turbine efficiency /parameter 28.7%(8MW condition),annual efficiency 25%-26%/510℃,8.83MPa 43.1%/540℃,13.2MPa(45% if with imported steam turbine)
Design point efficiency 15.9% 22.7%(23.7% if with imported steam turbine)
Design annual electric output 9,400,000kWh 146,000,000kWh(152,000,000 kWh if with imported steam turbine)
Aperture area 63,000m2 542,700m2
Annual average efficiency 7.65% 13.8% (14.4% if with imported steam turbine)

table: estimation about SUPCON 50MW tower CSP plant

In addition, Jin estimated the efficiency and electric output of SUPCON 50MW CSP tower plant(under construction) based on the performance of the 10MW plant. The design point of concentrating efficiency is 60.4% with receiver efficiency of 88%, heat storage and transfer efficiency of 99%, steam turbine efficiency of 43.1%(steam parameter of 540℃,13.2Mpa), aperture area of 542,700 m2. And design electricity production can reach 146,000,000kWh and 152,000,000 if with imported high efficiency steam turbine; the annual efficiency of the whole plant can reach 13.8% and 14.4% if use imported steam turbine.

Jin proclaims that it is not difficult to put the plant into on-line operation, but the challenge is to achieve the design electric output, and there are four main factors that influence electric output:

1) higher design electric output, such as receiver and annual thermal-electricity efficiency; low design solar discarding rate (SAM software) because of incomplete consideration; too much optimism for mirror cleanness;

2) frequent equipment failure, and long time outage for maintenance or long time overhaul;

3) lacking of operation and maintenance technologies, such as too much solar discard in transformation between different working conditions.

4) influenced by extreme natural condition, for instance, strong wind may cause impacts on mirror field and solar tower much more serious than expected; equipment will be delayed after icy or snowy weather, which can lead to higher solar discarding rate.

“SUPCON masters high accuracy tower CSP technologies and core technologies for high temperature molten salt thermal energy storage system, which boast strong reliability and environment adaptabilities. Deviance between actual and expected electric output of SUPCON 10MW CSP plant can be limited in 5%. The plant has well-performed for over a year now, verifying the success of  both technology and equipment in all-round field, therefore SUPCON can better guarantee successful operation and realization of design electric output target for 50MW even 100MW CSP projects. ” said by Jin additionally.

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