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Brussels, 20 October 2008

Commissioner Piebalgs visits two state-of-the-art solar plants in southern Spain supported with EU-funds

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has visited today two successful demonstration projects in the field of concentrating solar power and photovoltaics that the European Union has supported with its Research Programmes. The PS10 concentrated solar power and Sevilla PV, with a capacity of 11MW and 1.2MW, are located near the southern Spanish city of Seville and have benefited from €7,8 million from the 5th Framework Programme for Research. "These two projects have demonstrated the viability of solar electricity production and its capacity of creating jobs and growth while reducing supply dependency and CO2 emissions", said Commissioner Piebalgs after the visit.

PS10 is a 11 MW solar tower power plant that generates more than 23 GWh/year of electricity by means of 624 reflective heliostats of 120 m2 surface each. The solar receiver, placed on the top of a 115 metre tower, is used for the steam generation which feeds the steam turbine. It produces electricity for 5.500 homes and saves 6.700 tonnes of CO2 per year. PS10 has demonstrated, for the first time in Europe, the commercial operation of a Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant for producing electricity from the sun and has made available another option to combat climate change and increase energy security while developing the competitiveness of the European industrial sector. PS10 is the first of a set of solar electric power generation plants to be constructed in the same area that will total more than 300 MW by 2013.

Sevilla PV is the first photovoltaic plant commissioned in Europe, and operated commercially, working at low concentration and two axis sun tracking. The 1.2 MW grid-connected photovoltaic plant demonstrates the competitive concept for solar electricity production to build knowledge that allows further cost reduction in solar electricity generation. This plant produces 2,1 GWh of clean energy per year, enough for 525 homes. It saves more than 800 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The company that has developed these two projects, Abengoa Solar, was formed to manage and develop the solar activity of Abengoa, a company that employed about 20.000 people and declared sales of more than €3.000 million. With meaningful contributions from the EU RD & Demonstration Framework Programmes, Abengoa Solar has developed extensive experience in solar energy installations for electricity production, such as concentrating solar power plants (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) systems. The Spanish company is currently constructing in the same area Solugas, a new solar tower project. This project will be completed in 54 months and has an eligible cost of 11,6 million Euro, covered in part by a European contribution of about €6 million, granted under FP7 very recently. The main aim of the project is to demonstrate, on a commercial scale, a solar tower using air as working fluid in the receiver, to reach higher temperatures and improve the whole efficiency of the cycle.

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