Solar Millennium developed with Andasol 1 - 3 the first parabolic trough power plants in Europe. With a collector surface area of over 1.5 million square meters - equal to 210 soccer pitches - they are the largest solar power plants in the world.
The three Andasol-plants together provide approximately half a million people in southern Spain with environmentally friendly solar electricity. They will also contribute to Spain's supply reliability and, in particular, cover the demand peaks in the Spanish electricity grid during the summer months. The increased electricity demand is primarily caused by the high energy consumption of air-conditioning units. Each power plant has an electricity output of 50 megawatts and operates with thermal storage. A full thermal reservoir can continue to run the turbines for about 7.5 hours at full-load, even if it rains or long after the sun has set. The heat reservoirs each comprise of two tanks measuring 14 m in height and 36 m in diameter and contain liquid salt. Each provides 28,500 tons of storage medium.
As Europe's first ever parabolic trough power plants, Andasol 1 and 2 are in operation since 2008 and 2009 on the Guadix plateau in the province of Granada. Flagsol GmbH, Solar Millennium AG's technology subsidiary, supplied engineering services for the solar field, i.e. planning, design and construction supervision as well as the control. Upon completion of the power plants, all the stakes in the power plant companies were sold (to ACS/Cobra) in accordance with the business model. According to ACS Andasol 1 provides 175 gigawatt hours per year, exceeding the expectations.
In the immediate vicinity Andasol 3 was built, which is essentially identical to Andasol 1 and 2. The plant, which was realized by Solar Millennium and its partners, is owned by Solar Millennium, Ferrostaal, RWE Innogy, RheinEnergie and Stadtwerke München (50%). The plant was inaugurated officially in september 2011.
You can find the press release for the inauguration ceremony for the Andasol 3 solar thermal power plant here.