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Abengoa has been selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) of South Africa to develop Xina Solar One, a 100 megawatt (MW) parabolic trough plant with a five-hour thermal energy storage system using molten salts. This project will form the largest solar complex in Africa together with Abengoa's plant KaXu Solar One that is currently under construction in the country.
Abengoa's new project will be constructed close to Pofadder, a city in the north of the Northern Cape Province, next to KaXu Solar One. These two 100 MW plants will jointly shape the largest solar complex in Africa. Xina Solar One will belong to a consortium, 40% of which is controlled by Abengoa. Other constituents of the consortium are the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC),the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), and KaXu Community Trust.
The parabolic trough technology employs parabolic-shaped mirrors that are set on a structure so they can track the movement of the sun and concentrate solar radiation onto a receiving tube. Inside the tube, a heat-absorbing fluid flows and reaches high temperatures. This fluid transfers the thermal energy to a heat exchanger, and then is used to heat water into steam, which ultimately drives a turbine to generate electricity. Additionally, the plant uses the thermal energy storage technology that with a set of thermal storage tanks filled with molten salts, gives the plant the ability to generate electricity after the sunset or in transitory cloudy periods, in addition to the ability to adapt energy production to the peaks of demand.
Abengoa is currently building two other concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in South Africa, therefore granting a cleaner energy future for the country, in addition to boosting economic growth.
Abengoa currently has 1,223 MW in operation and 430 MW under construction, using both, concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic technology.