The plant will be operational by the end of 2010, producing not only thermo-dynamic solar power but also 60,000 MWh of electricity per annum thanks to its 12MWe installed capacity.
Dalkia is bringing to the Solenha project — which has the backing of regional (PACA) and local (Hautes Alpes) authorities as well as of the Ministry for Ecology, Energy and Renewable Development — all its skills as an energy and thermal producer, while Solar Euromed is contributing its engineering know-how in the specialist solar thermo-dynamics field. Dalkia is to operate and maintain the plant once finished. Other partners are due to join the project in the near future. On 8th July the Hautes-Alpes local authority unanimously voted to supply the over 80-hectare Chevalet site at Aspres sur Buëch for the project under a construction lease.
Solar concentration offers concrete answers to today's energy problems. The rays of the sun are captured by a set of mirrors and concentrated to heat liquid beyond 400 degrees. When transferred to water, the heat produces steam that in turn drives a turbine and generates electricity. Apart from the fact that it generates zero pollution, a thermal storage system means that electricity can be produced even when there is no sun. The system is best suited to those parts of the world with optimum solar radiation conditions: the USA, Spain, the Maghreb and Israel. However, the technology is equally suitable for generating power to desalinate sea water. The International Energy Agency believes that thermo-dynamic solar energy capacity could reach 630 GWe by 2050.