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Khi Solar One: Abengoa Installs South Africa’s First Concentrating Solar Power Tower
Seville CSP Tower via Shutterstock
As South Africa works to generate 17,800 MW of renewable energy by 2030, Spanish firm Abengoa is installing two concentrating solar power plants in the Northern Cape that will contribute 150 MW of solar to the region. One of those plants, the Khi Solar One, just reached a major milestone towards its completion as officials celebrated the installation of the concentrating solar power plant’s (CSP’s) 205-meter-tall superheated steam solar tower.
The two CSPs are among the projects fast-tracked by South Africa’s Department of Energy, which committed an incredible $5.4 billion to bring 1,400 MW of wind and solar-based projects online by 2016, part of a larger strategy to bring 17,800 MW online by 2030.
Constructed on a 600 hectare site in the Northern Cape Province, near Upington, the 50 MW Khi Solar One plant, along with the 100 MW KaXu Solar One parabolic trough plant—also in the Northern Cape—have created roughly 1400 local construction jobs and 70 permanent operation jobs. In combination, the two plants will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 498,000 tons each year, of which the Khi Solar One plant will be responsible for 138,000 tons each year.
The 50 MW plant’s centerpiece tower is a superheated steam solar tower with two hours of thermal storage that “represents an important technological advance in tower efficiency by using higher temperatures and an innovative dry cooling system,” utilizing technologies developed by Abengoa. The Spanish firm is working in conjunction with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Khi Community Trust.
Abengoa, which is also behind plans for the construction of the world’s largest CSP tower in California, describe the installation of South Africa’s first CSP tower as marking “an important milestone in the execution of this project, a significant development for CSP tower technology itself, as well as a strong positive impact on the community and the country.”
Lead Image Parabolic Solar Trough Collectors in Seville, Courtesy of Abengoa
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