The plant uses parabolic cylinder technology, the same as ACCIONA’s ‘Nevada Solar One’ CSP plant, which has been in operation since June 2007.

The official-opening ceremony was presided by the President of the Extremadura Regional Government, Guillermo Fernández Vara, and was attended by ACCIONA Chairman & CEO, José Manuel Entrecanales, the Mayor of Badajoz, Miguel Celdrán, and a number of regional and local officials.

The ‘Alvarado I’ CSP plant covers spreads out over more than 130 hectares, the equivalent of 170 soccer pinches. It has 184,320 mirrors aligned in rows and 768 solar collectors with a total length of around 74 kilometers.

Construction on the plant began in February 2008 and involved shifting more than a million cubic meters of earth. An average 350 people worked throughout the 18-month construction period, and a team of 31 will make up the plant’s operation and maintenance team.

An annual production of over 100m kWh

‘Alvarado I’ will generate 102m KWh of electricity a year, enough to supply 28,000 households. By using a renewable energy source, the plant will avoid each year the 98,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions that a coal-powered plant would use to generate the same amount of electricity.

Parabolic cylinder energy uses rows of mirrors to concentrate sunlight on to collector tubes arranged along the mirror’s focal plane; the tubes contain a fluid which reaches a temperature of up to 400ºC. The fluid is transported to an interchange containing water for producing steam, which in turn drives a conventional turbine connected to a generator for producing electricity.

Four plants in Spain

As well as Alvarado I, which has already been completed, ACCIONA has three other plants currently under construction in Spain: one in Majadas de Tiétar (Cáceres) and two in Palma del Río (Cordoba).

Each one will have an installed capacity of 50 MW, which means that the Company will have a total of 200MW in CSP operating in Spain, in addition to the existing 64 MW installed capacity in the US.

ACCIONA has applied for planning permission for three other CSP plants in Spain including a second (50 MW) facility in Alvarado.