World's Most Advanced Solar Power Plant Fails

The United States' leading National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a report that provides highly controversial reviews of installations powered by concentrated solar power (or CSP technology - concentrated solar power).

We are talking about the Solar Two project, within the framework of which the Crescent Dunes solar power plant was built. This is a unique structure consisting of 10347 heliostat mirrors installed on an area of ​​647.5 hectares around a 195-meter tower.

The mirrors can change their position by concentrating the sun's rays on a container with a special saline solution at the top of the tower. As a result, the salt heats up to 575 ° C, after which the resulting heat can be stored for a long time (up to 10 hours), and used to generate steam, which is necessary for the operation of generators.

However, a number of serious problems arose during the operation of the CSP installation. One of them is the death of a large number of birds that accidentally fall into the zone of action of heliostats, where they literally turn into ash.

Another, more serious problem is a salt reservoir leak, discovered in 2016 and associated with errors in engineering calculations. Although there was little damage, the plant had to be shut down for eight months to determine the cause.

The performance also let down. Instead of the planned 52%, the solar power plant showed an average power factor of only 20.3%.