TR_Spain_solar

Document Sample
TR_Spain_solar Powered By Docstoc
					New Technologies in Spain




               Solar Energy
               As researchers continue to explore new ways to
               promote and improve solar power, Spanish companies
               are becoming world leaders in this emerging field.
Innovation in Motion
Spain is now the world’s eighth-largest economy and the fastest
growing in the European Union. It represents more than 2.5%
of the world’s total GDP and a third of all new jobs created in
the Eurozone last year. Spain is fast becoming a leader in in-
novation and generating advanced solutions in the industries of
aerospace, renewable energies, water treatment, rail, biotechnol-
ogy, industrial machinery and civil engineering. Spanish firms are
innovators in the field of public-works finance and management,
where six of the world’s top ten companies are from Spain. Where
innovation thrives, so will the successful global enterprises of the
21st century.

To find out more about technology opportunities in Spain, visit:
www.spainbusiness.com

To find out more about New Technologies in Spain, visit:
www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar
                                                                                                                        Mirrors focus the power of about 600 suns
                                                                                                                        on a receiver at the top of the Solúcar tower.




                             Solar Energy in Spain
                             Spain is forging ahead with plans to build concentrating solar power plants, establishing the country and Spanish companies
                             as world leaders in the emerging field. At the same time, the number of installed photovoltaic systems is growing exponentially,
                             and researchers continue to explore new ways to promote and improve solar power. This is the seventh in an eight-part series
                             highlighting new technologies in Spain and is produced by Technology Review, Inc.’s custom-publishing division in partnership
                             with the Trade Commission of Spain.



                             From the road to the Solúcar solar plant outside Seville, drivers    power. The tower outside Seville, built and operated by Solúcar,
                             can see what appear to be glowing white rays emanating from          an Abengoa company, is the first of a number of solar thermal
                             a tower, piercing the dry air, and alighting upon the upturned       plants and will provide about 10 megawatts of power. The com-
                             faces of the tilted mirror panels below. Appearances, though,        pany Sener is completing Andasol 1, the first parabolic-trough
                             are deceiving: those upturned mirrors are actually tracking the      plant in Europe—a 50-megawatt system outside Granada that
                             sun and radiating its energy onto a blindingly white square at       will begin operation in the summer of 2008.
                             the top of the tower, creating the equivalent of the power of 600        Unlike photovoltaic panels, which harness the movement of
                             suns. That power is used to vaporize water into steam to power       electrons between layers of a solar cell when the sun strikes the
                             a turbine.                                                           material, solar thermal power works by utilizing the heat of the
                                 This tower plant uses concentrating solar technology with a      sun. CSP has until recently cost nearly twice as much as tradi-
                             central receiver. It’s the first commercial central-receiver sys-    tional natural gas or coal power plants, and it is effective only
                             tem in the world.                                                    on a large scale. “You need a very large budget to set up a con-
                                 Spanish companies and research centers are taking the lead       centrated solar power system,” says Eduardo Zarza, director of
                             in the recent revival of concentrating solar power (CSP), a          concentrating solar research at the Solar Platform of Almería
                             type of solar thermal power; expanses of mirrors are being           (PSA in Spanish), a research, development, and testing center.
                             assembled around the country. At the same time, Spanish              “You need a great deal of land, a steam turbine, an electricity
                             companies are investing in huge photovoltaic (PV) fields, as         generator, power equipment, people in the control room, staff
                             companies dramatically increase production of PV panels              to run the system.” The costs are also front-loaded, unlike those
                             and investigate the next generation of this technology. Spain        of traditional plants: the fuel is free, unlike oil, gas, or coal, but
                             is already fourth in the world in its use of solar power, and        the up-front development expense is significantly higher.
                             second in Europe, with more than 120 megawatts in about 8,300            During and immediately following the energy crisis of the
photos courtesy of abengoa




                             installations. Within only the past 10 years, the number of          1970s, nine solar thermal plants were built in California to
                             companies working in solar energy has leapt from a couple            produce a total of 350 megawatts, but until this year no new
                             of dozen to a few hundred.                                           commercial plant had been built, anywhere in the world, for
                                                                                                  15 years.
                             Power from the Sun’s Heat                                                PV costs run nearly double those of solar thermal for a power
                             Southern Spain, a region known the world over for its abundant       plant of a similar size, but PV has the advantage of modularity;
                             sun and scarce rain, provides an ideal landscape for solar thermal   panels can be incorporated into individual homes, companies,

                             www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar                                                                                                        1
                                                                                                                           The Solúcar solar thermal power plant,
                                                                                                                           which uses a central receiving tower, is the
                                                                                                                           first such commercial plant in the world.




                             “  At this plant, we’re working with the potential of about 3,000 suns—so it
                             has to be very well designed and operated to provide the best results.”

                             and buildings or installed in small spaces.        The heat transfer fluid then travels to      well designed and operated to provide
                             This micropower approach has helped the        a steam generator, where the heat is trans-      the best results.”
                             market for PV explode in the past five         ferred to water, immediately turning the             Fernández says that so far the facility
                             years, while solar thermal remained            water into steam. That steam powers a            is operating as intended, but improve-
                             moribund.                                      turbine, the same technology used in con-        ments will be incorporated into future
                                With gas costs rising and the world         ventional power plants.                          towers. “This isn’t the best temperature
                             sharpening its focus on global warming,            The tower technology works on the            for the highest efficiency,” he says, “but
                             and governments around the world mak-          same principle as the troughs—the sun’s          we wanted to test the safety and security
                             ing a concerted attempt to invest in alter-    heat—but uses curved mirrors called              of the design for this first installation.
                             native energy sources on a larger scale,       heliostats, mounted on trackers that shift       We’ll do the remaining research neces-
                             solar thermal is attracting new attention.     position with a slight mechanical groan          sary in order to use higher temperatures
                             In Spain in particular, the technology         every few seconds. The heliostats direct         in future plants.” He explains that the
                             has been assisted by Royal Decree 436,         the sun’s light to a central receiver at the     cooling system for the boiler is more
                             implemented in March 2004, which               top of the tower. Testing towers have            complicated as temperatures increase,
                             approved a feed-in tariff (a guaranteed        been built in Spain, the United States,          but that once those changes are imple-
                             price) for solar thermal power. The feed-      and Israel, but the Solúcar PS10 site is         mented, the tower’s efficiency could
                             in tariff made building this type of           the first commercial application of the          improve by 20 percent.
                             power plant economically viable. The           technology.                                          The tower is also supported by a small
                             government also recognizes that, as with           At PS10, 624 heliostats, 120 square          amount of natural gas, used when a
                             wind, support is necessary at the begin-       meters each (nearly 1,300 square feet),          stretch of rainy or overcast weather pre-
                             ning to enable the creation of new             concentrate solar radiation at the top of a      vents the plant’s full operation and the
                             plants—which will most likely drive            115-meter tower (about 377 feet). A              stored energy cannot stretch far enough
                             down prices, as has happened in Spain          receiver at the top transfers the heat           to compensate. “It’s good to be able to
                             with wind power.                               directly to water, and the pressurized           maintain stability, not be stopping and
                                                                            steam reaches 250 ºC.                            starting up the turbines more than once a
                             Technologies                                       The engineering behind such a plant          day, as they’re designed to do,” says
                             The most common technology so far, and         takes into account both the need to heat         Fernández.
                             the one in use at Andasol 1, is based on a     up the receiver and the importance of                When completed in 2012, the entire
                             series of parabolic troughs, huge curved       moderating the energy directed at it. “At        Solúcar facility, called the Sanlúcar La
photos courtesy of abengoa




                             mirrors about 18 feet wide that collect the    this plant, we’re working with the poten-        Mayor Solar Platform, will generate more
                             sun’s energy and focus it on a receiver pipe   tial of about 3,000 suns, but the absorp-        than 300 megawatts of solar power, using
                             in the middle. Oil streams through that        tion panels can only handle 600 suns,”           tower and trough technologies along with
                             pipe along a long loop of troughs. The         says Valerio Fernández, head of engi-            PV installations. Abengoa, owner of
                             mirrors slowly track the sun from east to      neering and commissioning for Solúcar.           Solúcar, has also recently signed plans to
                             west during daytime hours, and the oil         “We have to control the aiming to pro-           build combined-cycle power plants in
                             reaches about 400 ºC (about 750 ºF).           tect the solar panels. So it has to be very      Algeria and Morocco, using parabolic

                             2                                                                                                  www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar
                                               nese Institute of Technology purchased            parabolic -trough systems across the
                                               Sener’s services to determine the best            country.
                                               dimensions for a solar plant it wanted to
                                               develop.                                          Advancing the Field
                                                    Andasol is Sener’s first solar thermal       Eduardo Zarza is having a great day. In
                                               site, though the company has already bro-         fact, he’s having a great year. With a
                                               ken ground on another site nearby, and a          barely suppressed grin, PSA’s director of
                                               third is being planned for a location in the      concentrating solar research describes
                                               northern part of country.                         how the center has gone from a research
                                                    The company has faced hurdles in             outpost, where he and other researchers
                                               building this facility, the first major           toiled away on solar thermal power for 25
                                               parabolic-trough system in Spain. “There          years, to an international superstar (at
                                               have been a lot of challenges,” says Nora         least in certain circles), with near daily
                                               Castañeda, an engineer in charge of the           visits from companies and scientists from
                                               site’s construction, laughing. “We can            around the world.
troughs in conjunction with natural-gas        begin with the design itself. It was dif-             Says Zarza, “Every week we have sev-
power plants.                                  ficult to find the right manufacturers,           eral companies coming to see the facili-
    One of the main advantages of solar        because there are so few suppliers of the         ties to get information, because they’re
thermal power, in addition to the cost         parts. We had to learn how to assemble            interested in investing in solar thermal
benefit, is the potential for power storage.   a solar field like this in a short time.          plants. The situation has changed dra-
The Solúcar tower uses a system of heat        Once we solved one problem, another               matically in only two years.”
storage based on pressurized water.            appeared.”                                            The center, surrounded by dusty rose-
Sener’s Andasol site will use a more                But as quickly as problems have              colored mountains dotted with green, lies
advanced system taking advantage of the        appeared, she says, the staff worked hard         in a particularly dry area, with only 20
specific properties of molten salt. It’s       to find solutions. They built an assembly         percent of Andalusia’s average rainfall.
been tested in Spain but has not yet been      plant on-site and worked with Spanish             Back in the 1970s, with Western coun-
implemented commercially.                      construction companies to create appro-           tries feeling the pressure of restricted
    L o cat e d about a n hou r out side       priate jigs with laser trackers for the           access to oil, a consortium of nine coun-
Granada, home to the world-famous              extremely precise task of building the            tries—eight European nations and the
Alhambra, Andasol 1 will provide power         parabolic mirrors and transporting the            United States—signed an agreement to
well into the evening hours. Sener, which      system to the field without disruption.           investigate two solar technologies: one
is constructing the plant with a company       Castañeda says she expects the lessons            based on parabolic troughs, the other on
called Cobra, has built extra troughs that     learned from Andasol 1 to help drive              a central receiver (like Solúcar’s tower
will direct heated oil to 28,000 tons of       down the cost of future systems.                  receiver).
molten salt (the salt is being imported             Other companies are part of this rising          In 1985, the test results were in: both
from Chile). The salt must reach a high        trend: the Spanish utility giant Iberdrola        technologies were commercially feasible,
enough temperature to liquefy—and              r e c ent ly a n nou nc e d pla n s fo r 10       but costs were too high.
then it must be maintained in a liquid
state to prevent it from causing block-
ages. Tubes carrying heated oil will pass
                                                                         Growth of Solar Power in Spain
through the molten salt, raising the tem-                     120 MW
perature even higher, and the salt will
retain the heat energy. As evening falls,                     100 MW
the thermal energy will be transferred
                                                  megawatts




back to the oil, which will continue on to                    80 MW
the heat exchanger and power the steam
turbine.                                                      60 MW
    One of Sener’s innovations in this
field was the development of new simula-                      40 MW
tion software, called Sensol, that takes
into account all the variables that go into                   20 MW
building a solar plant, determining the
                                                                                                                                               source :




production costs and the appropriate                               0
dimensions. This technology has also                                   1999   2000 2001   2002     2003 2004      2005 2006
                                                                                                                                               asIf




been used outside the country; the Japa-

www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar                                                                                                      3
                                 Since then, the center has continued           “We’re very happy with the situation       bottom of the glass tube, which could
                             testing and refining the technology,            now,” says Zarza. “In the past, few people    cause it to break.” Heating oil, unlike
                             working with universities and countries         wanted to learn about our systems—now,        water, remains in liquid form throughout
                             around the world. Though there are other        everybody wants to.”                          the process. Scientists have tinkered with
                             research centers with departments dedi-            Research has focused on technolo-          tubes to develop one that can withstand
                             cated to concentrating solar power, PSA         gies to increase the efficiency and           these temperature changes, and soon a
                             is the largest such research center in the      decrease the cost of these concentrating      new three-megawatt facility will be built
                             world.                                          solar systems. Reflectors and absorber        at PSA to test it.
                                 The center is one of two Spanish            pipes have been refined, and the cou-             Fernández of Abengoa’s Solúcar, one
                             research facilities that operate as part of     pling between the solar and conventional      of the companies participating in the
                             what’s known as Ciemat (the other, near         systems has been improved. The use of         research project, looks forward to replac-
                             Madrid, focuses on wind and biomass).           molten salt for heat storage was tested       ing heating oil with water. “Oil is expen-
                             Sixty percent of the budget comes from          on-site before Sener went ahead with          sive,” he says, “and in theory you can go
                             the government, while the other 40 per-         plans to install such a system in the new     to higher temperatures with water and
                             cent comes from grants and industry             Andasol facility. Researchers also con-       pressurized steam, because oil has a heat
                             partnership. Lack of funds threatened the       tinue partnering with European compa-         limit. It’s also more efficient if you can do
                             center’s operations several times, and it       nies to develop alternative and even          away with the heat exchanger.”
                             nearly closed.                                  more effective storage systems, which             A significant challenge facing devel-
                                 A rapidly growing interest in renew-        could greatly increase solar thermal’s        opers of CSP plants remains cost—in
                             ables, government incentives to promote         viability in the marketplace.                 large part because these plants haven’t
                             energy alternatives, and the rising cost of        The center is currently investigating      been built before. Parabolic mirrors must
                             oil and gas placed PSA in the perfect           replacing heating oil in absorber pipes       be produced to exacting specifications,
                             position to take a leading role in the devel-   with water, so the steam turbine could be     and tubes for the oil must be made of two
                             opment of renewable energy technolo-            linked to the solar field directly, bypass-   glass layers with a vacuum between them.
                             gies. After decades in the literal and          ing a heat exchanger. “Conceptually, this     There’s currently one mirror manufac-
                             figurative desert, Zarza finds himself at       seems so simple,” says Zarza, “but that’s     turer in Europe and two manufacturers of
                             the center of a renaissance: the technol-       not actually the case. Water boils and        the glass tubes, one in Israel and another
                             ogy is finally, once again, entering the        then turns to steam, and during the transi-   in Germany. “So when there are more
                             marketplace—and the center’s activities         tion phase there could be very high tem-      manufacturers producing those tubes,
                             appear secure and are flourishing.              perature differences between the top and      and when there’s a larger production in
                                                                                                                           general, you’re going to get more compe-
                                                                                                                           tition and a scale advantage,” says Peter
                                                                                                                           Duprey, director of Acciona Energy
                                                                                                                           North America, a subsidiary of a Spanish
                                                                                                                           company. He adds, “I think this is at a
                                                                                                                           fairly early stage in its evolution, and with
                                                                                                                           more money and more people focusing on
                                                                                                                           this energy alternative, I think you’re
                                                                                                                           going to drive costs down, just like what
                                                                                                                           happened with wind. In the 1980s it was
                                                                                                                           30 cents per kilowatt-hour; now it’s down
                                                                                                                           to about 7 cents. I think you’ll see the
                                                                                                                           same thing with concentrating solar.”
                                                                                                                               Both Abengoa and Sener are working
                                                                                                                           with other Spanish companies to jump-
                                                                                                                           start the production of parabolic mirrors
                                                                                                                           and glass tubes in Spain, to increase pro-
                                                                                                                           duction, competition, and local access to
photos courtesy of accIona




                                                                                                                           the necessary parts. At least two local
                                                                                                                           companies will begin producing mirrors
                                                                                                                           within the year, and another few are
                                                                                                                           investigating developing new absorber
                                                                                                                           pipes.
                                 Spanish companies continue to innovate in the technology and
                                                                                                                               “Electricity costs are going up—and
                                 marketing of photovoltaic power.
                                                                                                                           solar thermal costs are going down,” says

                             4                                                                                                www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar
Parabolic troughs capture the sun’s energy to heat
synthetic oil at Acciona’s Nevada Solar One. That
heat will turn water into steam to power a turbine.




                                              “
Zarza. “We think they will meet some-           Electricity costs are going up—and solar thermal
where in the middle.”
                                              costs are going down. We think they will meet some-
In the U.S.                                   where in the middle.”
The first solar thermal power plants in the
world, nine in total, were built in Kramer    connection points. That can be devel-          researcher Antonio Luque was sent to
Junction, in dry, sunny southern Califor-     oped, and I think we can get gigawatts         the United States to share information
nia, in the 1980s. They still harness 350     worth of concentrating solar power over        about microelectronics. He became
megawatts of solar heat. Since the last of    the next 10 years.”                            inspired by American work on PV and
those plants was built, however, the tech-        Nevada requires its utilities to gener-    returned to Spain, founded the Institute
nology halted in the United States, as it     ate a percentage of their electricity from     for Solar Research (IES in Spanish) in
did in the rest of the world. Research con-   renewable sources. The wind is weak in         1975, and eventually spun off the com-
tinued at American research centers such      southern Nevada, but the sun burns hot,        pany Isofotón in 1981. By 1982 the com-
as the National Renewable Energy Lab          and the state provided an investment tax       pany was already marketing the first
(NREL).                                       credit—so Acciona took on the project.         Spanish solar cells.
    This summer, the first new plant, built       This type of technology demands vast           Luque’s first contribution to the solar
by Acciona with technology from the           amounts of land for the parabolic troughs,     field was the development of bifacial
U.S. company Solargenix, came on-line         and the plant is most efficient if it can be   cells, which take advantage of sunlight
outside Las Vegas in the abundantly           sited close to the demand. Conditions in       from both sides. These cells provided
sunny Nevada desert.                          the western United States, particularly        Isofotón’s start, but higher development
    The Spanish company acquired 55           the Southwest, meet both those require-        and maintenance costs prevented their
percent of Solargenix early in 2006 and       ments. The Western Governors’ Associa-         early adoption, and Isofotón reverted to
then began plans to build Nevada Solar        tion has stated its com m itment to            conventional solar cells.
One, as the plant is known. The parabolic     increasing the use of solar thermal power          Today, the 60 researchers at IES—
troughs supply 64 megawatts, enough to        in the region.                                 one of the oldest solar centers in the
                                                                                                                                           photos courtesy of accIona




power about 14,000 homes annually.                                                           world—continue to push ahead with
Acciona is also in the permitting stage for   Photovoltaics                                  advances in PV technology. The insti-
two 50-megawatt CSP plants in Spain.          The growth of solar in Spain is hardly lim-    tute’s research areas include multijunc-
    Duprey, director of Acciona Energy        ited to thermal power. Photovoltaic tech-      tion cells that utilize a wider bandwidth
North America, says, “In the southwest        nology is still the primary source of solar    of solar energy; intermediate-band cells
of the U.S. we have plenty of land that       power; it has been central to the solar-       that can capture lower-energy photons;
effectively is unused, and is near grid       power repertoire since the 1970s, when         and concentrator systems in which lenses

www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar                                                                                                  5
multiply the sun’s energy up to 1,000         which has been in Spain for more than 20          Outside the building, a panel of
times by focusing its light on tiny cells.    years and is now planning a major produc-     concentrating PV cells is mounted on
The last technology is being developed        tion expansion. In addition, the Spanish      a tracker. Unlike standard photovolta-
in partnership with Isofotón.                 company Atersa builds solar panels and        ics, which can accept all ambient light,
    To further develop this new technol-      provides full solar-power installations. At   concentrating PV cells are most efficient
ogy, the Institute for Photovoltaic Sys-      its new Valencia factory, the company has     when tracking the sun to appropriately
tems of Concentration is being built in       grown to 14 megawatts of annual capacity      focus the light through the lenses. Thus,
Puertollano, south of Madrid. Companies       and will soon expand to 30 megawatts.         as with solar thermal, the technology
from Spain, including IES pa r tner           Another young solar panel company expe-       will probably be most effective on a



“   Most of the energy increase in the world will be in electricity, and most
 of that will be in developing countries.”
Guascor Fotón, will have demonstration        riencing rapid growth is Siliken, which is    large scale, so that fields of trackers can
sites, along with companies from the          developing a silicon plant to ensure a        be set up to take advantage of the sun’s
United States, Germany, and other coun-       steady supply of raw materials.               angled rays.
tries. The goal is to improve the technol-        Traditionally, Spanish companies              The material used in concentrating
ogy’s efficiency and decrease its cost in     have exported about 80 percent of the         photovoltaics is gallium arsenide, which
an effort to speed commercialization.         cells they produced, but with renewed         is 50 times as expensive as silicon. But the
    Luque thinks solar cells will become      interest in PV within Spain, those num-       cells demand just one-thousandth as
much cheaper, but he acknowledges that        bers are changing. In only the last two       much material, cutting costs.
a precipitous drop in price will require      years, nearly 100 megawatts of PV power           When it comes to traditional PV pan-
technological breakthroughs. He believes      have been added. Isofotón expects to sell     els, most companies focus on marketing
these breakthroughs might be occurring        about 60 percent of its panels within         to the developed world—where money is
already and that the technological            Spain, though the company still exports       available for PV and the process is as
advances in store for PV will allow it to     to Europe, North and South America,           simple as creating the product and selling
easily overtake solar thermal, even on a      and Asia.                                     it. But Isofotón has taken the lead in mar-
power-plant scale.                                Jesús Alonso, Isofotón’s director of      keting solar power to the developing
    In a huge, airy, light-filled building    research and development, says what dis-      world. This year the company expects
near Málaga on Spain’s southern coast,        tinguishes the company is the high qual-      rural electrification to account for nearly
Luque’s spinoff company, Isofotón, hums       ity of its cells. “You can find information   a quarter of its market. Even the market-
with the excitement of the exploding PV       in books about how to make solar cells,”      ing works differently for this segment of
scene. This factory was completed in          he says. “The main difficulty is the know-    the business: projects must be researched
2006, and ground has already been bro-        how—it’s how to make sure that those          and appropriate financial models devel-
ken next door for an expansion.               400 wafers you put in the furnace are         oped for each. Isofotón has rural electri-
    The company’s production and sales        actually good, quality solar cells. That’s    fication projects around South America,
have shot up in the past few years, despite   the key.”                                     Morocco, Algeria, Indonesia, and South
rough patches since its inception in 1981.        Like all solar-cell producers, Isofotón   Africa.
Isofotón nearly went bankrupt twice as        has been limited lately by the dearth of          Solar power in these poor, r ural
solar power languished worldwide. But         highly purified silicon necessary both        regions is not used simply for home elec-
in the late 1990s, Germany decided to         for microelectronics and the solar indus-     tricity but also for applications such as
invest heavily in solar power. Isofotón       try. In response, it has begun setting up     water pumps and desalination. To main-
was able to take advantage of the situa-      silicon refining operations in Cadiz,         tain a lead in this area, Isofotón is not
tion, supplying 15 percent of the German      wh ich should begin production in             just relying on the decades of experience
market. It grew to become the seventh-        2008.                                         it has already built up; it’s putting addi-
largest producer of solar cells in the            Working with Antonio Luque’s IES,         tional research into how best to couple
world—but the global market has grown         Isofotón has focused its research on          solar power with those types of applica-
rapidly, and a handful of new companies       developing concentrating PV cells.            tions, since much of the existing equip-
have jumped in to fill the need. Isofotón’s   Downstairs in the factory, in a small room    ment isn’t appropriately built to work
rank has now dropped slightly even as its     on the main factory floor, a machine          with an intermittent energy source.
business has expanded dramatically.           whirs as thin sheets of one-millimeter            “If we look to the really long term, I
    Spain has been one of the top world       solar cells pass through a machine. The       think that our main market will be rural
producers of solar cells for the past         tiny cells will be attached to gold wires     electrification, because at the end these
decade; the two main companies produc-        and then serve as the focus of the concen-    are the people who don’t have electricity,”
ing those cells are Isofotón and BP Solar,    trating lenses.                               says research director Alonso. “Most of

6                                                                                              www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar
 Top and bottom left: Isofotón’s offices utilize solar
 power, with PV panels on the building’s exterior and solar
 skylights. Right: Isofotón’s robots create solar units.


the energy increase in the world will be in electricity, and
most of that will be in developing countries.”
                                                                         photos courtesy of Isofotón




   Acciona Solar, the solar-energy arm of Acciona Energía,
has seen phenomenal growth rates, as have the other major
companies involved in this field. The company’s income
exploded from about half a million euros to more than 96
million euros in only eight years.
   Last December, the company connected the Monte Alto
Solar Field to the grid; it’s the largest installation of its kind

www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar                                 7
in Spain, and one of the largest in the        pared with those of a typical building.
world. It consists of a field of standard PV   The remaining energy is produced with          Resources
panels on trackers (which leads to 30 per-     PV cells, solar water heating, and a small
cent greater efficiency), spread out over      amount of biodiesel. The investments will      ICEX (Spanish Institute for
a long-disused agricultural field in the       pay off in 10 years, according to Arrarás.     Foreign Trade)
                                                                                              www.spainbusiness.com
southern part of the state of Navarra,         Thanks to the company’s experience,
about an hour south of Pamplona.               Acciona Solar is also researching ways
                                                                                              Acciona Energía
    This is the latest of these fields,        to improve and promote these high-             www.acciona-energia.com
known as “huertas,” or gardens, in Span-       performance buildings.
ish. The 9.5-megawatt facility at Milagro         Acciona is poised to begin construc-        Atersa
actually has more than 750 owners—             tion on a PV solar field in Portugal that      www.atersa.com
investors from across Spain, each of           will produce nearly 50 megawatts—five
whom owns one or two of the panels and         times as much as Milagro.                      Institute for Solar Energy
trackers and receives payments from the                                                       www.ies.upm.es
electric utility.                              Looking ahead
    Most Spaniards live in apartment           The Spanish government continues to pro-       Isofotón
                                                                                              www.isofoton.es
buildings and share rooftops, so the           mote investment in and expansion of both
options for investing in solar power are       photovoltaic and solar thermal power,
                                                                                              SENER
limited. “This way they can have the           with a goal of 400 megawatts of installed      www.sener.es
same opportunities as the rest of the          power for PV and 500 megawatts for solar
world even if they don’t have their own        thermal by 2010. This still represents only    Siliken
roof,” says Miguel Arrarás, director of        a fraction of the country’s total power use    www.siliken.com
Acciona Solar. There are 10 such fields        and total renewable production.
in Spain, of which Milagro is the largest          The government, however, is commit-        Solar Platform of Almería
so far, and three more about to enter the      ted to advancing the sector. The new           www.psa.es
construction phase.                            building code of 2006 requires increased
    The region of Navarra, with local gov-     energy efficiency and includes an obliga-      Solúcar
                                                                                              www.solucar.es
ernment support, has become a veritable        tion to meet a significant part of the hot-
center of renewable energy, with wind          water demand with passive solar heating.
                                                                                              Spanish Photovoltaic
turbines arching over the rolling hills and    And the Renewable Energy Plan sets a           Industry Association
solar fields stretching across open spaces.    lofty goal of 5 million square feet of solar   www.asif.org
The region’s PV capacity in watt peak per      collectors by 2010. A royal decree
inhabitant is more than 20 times that of       approved in May 2007 improves the feed-        To find out more about New
Spain as a whole, and nearly double that       in tariffs for both solar thermal and PV       Technologies in Spain, visit:
of Germany, the world solar leader. Sev-       facilities. Some experts believe that these    www.technologyreview.com/
enty percent of Navarra’s electricity is       developments could lead Spain to become        spain/solar
generated from wind and solar alone.           the world’s second-largest PV market in
    Because of this, Navarra has become        2007. Spanish companies and research           For more information visit:
                                                                                              www.spainbusiness.com
a perfect site to evaluate the entire sys-     institutions plan to remain at the forefront
tem. “We’re testing 30 different kinds         of the growing global field.
                                                                                              Contact:
of panels,” says Arrarás. “We also have            Says Javier Anta, president of the         Mr. Enrique Alejo
data on the effects of shadows, fog,           Spanish Photovoltaic Industry Associa-         Trade Commission of Spain
ever ything. We have an agreement              tion, “The solar industry will be a major      in Chicago
with two universities just to analyze this     part of the government’s goal of 20            500 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1500
data.” He continues, “This is also the         percent renewable energy by 2020.              Chicago, IL 60611, USA
perfect place to evaluate what the effect      Despite the fact that solar is only a small    T: 312 644 1154
is on the entire grid when, say, there are     percentage of renewable power, it’s            F: 312 527 5531
clouds, because of the high concentra-         grown more than 100 percent a year in          chicago@mcx.es
tion of solar power here.”                     the past few years.” In fact, the sector
    The company’s operations are housed        grew 200 percent in 2006. He continues,
in a zero-emissions building on the out-       “We’re facing a grand challenge: con-
skirts of Pamplona. The building’s design      solidating that which we’ve achieved so
incorporates techniques, such as natural       far, setting the framework for future
light and carefully placed shading, that       development, and creating a sector that
reduce energy needs by 52 percent com-         makes our country proud.”

8                                                                                             www.technologyreview.com/spain/solar
New Technologies in Spain Series
Spain is a technologically and industrially advanced country committed to
innovation, research and development, both through its government and
through its private sector. The country is determined to deepen and inten-
sify its productive specialization in industries that depend on technology and
innovation. The Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce has launched an
ambitious plan combining its available human and financial resources and set-
ting out specific lines of action with the goal of strengthening the international
outlook of the most technologically advanced companies in Spain.

As part of this initiative, Technology Review’s custom-publishing division has
produced the New Technologies in Spain Series, which will appear as a special
advertising supplement in MIT’s Technology Review magazine. This powerful
eight-part series showcases the technological development and excellence
of Spanish companies in several important industries, such as wind energy,
water desalination, infrastructures, high-speed rail, aerospace, industrial ma-
chinery, biotechnology and renewable energy.

Spanish firms have embraced new technologies to persevere in their continu-
ous search for advanced solutions. To find out more, visit:
www.technologyreview.com/spain




       Contact any one of our over
       90 offices around the globe.
       www.spainbusiness.com

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:50
posted:6/17/2011
language:English
pages:12