ABB automates solar thermal power plant

The solution encompasses an extensive array of power and automation products and systems for the 100-megawatt (MW) Extresol 1 and 2 solar thermal power plant and solar collector field in Extremadura, western Spain.


Zurich, Switzerland -- ABB is supplying a comprehensive power and automation solution for one of the world’s largest solar thermal power plants– a solution that includes control equipment to enable the plant’s 1,248 parabolic troughs to capture maximum energy from the sun.
The solution encompasses an extensive array of power and automation products

A solar field of parabolic troughs at Andasol 1 about six months before completion. Source: ABB.

and systems for the 100-megawatt (MW) Extresol 1 and 2 solar thermal power plant and solar collector field in Extremadura, western Spain. ABB claims these projects are among the largest solar energy projects in the world.
Extresol 1 and 2 will each produce 50 MW of electricity from a vast solar field of parabolic trough collectors covering more than 510,000 square meters, equivalent in size to around 70 soccer fields.
ABB’s scope of supply to Extresol includes System 800xA to control the power plant, integrate plant systems and collect information from the field; AC500 PLCs to control the parabolic trough collectors, as well as instrumentation, motors, drives and low voltage products, and substation power equipment for delivering the energy to the national power grid.
Each of the 1,248 collectors is equipped with an AC500 PLC. The solution includes AC500 PLCs equipped with an advanced solar positioning algorithm developed by ABB for parabolic trough collectors and solar trackers. The algorithm enables the collectors to follow the passage of the sun to within 0.03 degrees of error, thereby absorbing the maximum amount of energy at all times.
Together, both power plants will generate enough electricity to provide 60,000 Spanish homes with clean energy and avoid 298,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions a year. Extresol 1 is scheduled to start operation at the end of 2009 and Extresol 2 six months later.
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