Published on : Jul 19, 2017
A large-scale solar power project based on the concentrated solar thermal technology is being set up in the Middle East to provide electricity that can be used over the night, the developers have announced. The US$1 bn plant is expected to provide electricity up to 200 MW to Dubai’s grid during the period between 4pm and 10 am. Paddy Padmanathan Chief executive of ACWA Power International, the Saudi Arabia-based company developing the project, said that the concentrated solar power (CSP) technology is likely to become more popular across the globe in the next few years.
Although presently there is vast focus on PV (photovoltaic) and batteries, direct utilization of sunlight in the PV technology has several limitations, especially when it comes to storing surcharge power produced when the sunlight is the most intense, CSP can prove to be more effective when it comes to working through the night.
The project to be built in Dubai uses CSP to store solar power in molten salt to an astounding 490 degree Celsius. Mr Padmanathan notes that presently there are only two companies operating in the solar CSP devices sector. But, he adds, there are at least five companies based in China that are making their way to the market.
ACWA Power International has built solar CSP plants in South Africa and Morocco and also plans to build a plant in Saudi Arabia. Solar CSP will be able to gain more takers once the technology proves to be cost competitive as compared to solar PV and wind technology. The Dubai solar CSP plant is expected to start operating by 2021.