Spanish renewable energy firm Abengoa has announced plans to construct two 50 MW solar power plants in Andalucia, Spain. The projects will use concentrating solar power (CSP) technology, which is thought to have considerable potential in the world’s sun-belt regions.

The Helioenergy 1 and 2 plants will be built by Abengoa near the city of Écija at a cost of EUR500 million. They will use parabolic trough technology, which was first used in the USA in the 1980s, and which is today considered one of the most efficient systems for generating electricity from solar energy.

Abengoa is also developing a number of other CSP power plants, including a 280 MWe trough plant with storage in Arizona, USA, and the Solúcar Platform in Spain.

More than 300 MW of trough-type CSP plants are in operation around the world, with a further 6 GW in development, says Abengoa. Parabolic trough plants use reflective mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy to produce steam, which is then used to generate electricity.

They can be combined with energy storage systems so that power can continue to be produced after sunset.