Abengoa Solar Solana Project progress

[Gila Bend, Arizona USA]

Abengoa Solana Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant construction in full swing.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

I was on an extended road trip through Southern Nevada, Arizona, and Southern California last week checking out various solar sites as time permitted. After leaving Tucson, I headed towards Yuma along Interstate 8 (I-8) and planned a stopover west of Gila Bend to survey the Abengoa Solar Solana project.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

I only had a rough idea of the Solana location but thought there must be construction traffic signs for the 280 MW (MegaWatt) CSP project. Solana was easy to find since the project borders the north side of I-8 west of the Painted Rock Road exit at mile marker 102.


View Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project in a larger map

I didn’t expect to see much at the parabolic trough solar project. However, the former farmland was quite flat and open providing good views of Solana as shown in the inset photos. Ground preparations are advanced and trough footers are installed across vast stretches of the site.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

The short, wide water tanks seen in the power block area don’t match the conceptual images shown on the SolanaSolar.com project website but are similar to the ones shown toward the end of the following YouTube video animation.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

A sample solar parabolic trough column has been constructed on the western side of the site. I also saw a new section of parabolic trough being transported to the same area towards the end of my visit.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project
From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

Transmission towers have already been delivered to the site for construction of the new 230 kiloVolt (kV) transmission line interconnecting with the transmission system of the Arizona Public Service Company (APS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (NYSE:PNW).

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

Abengoa Solar, a business unit of Abengoa SA (MCE:ABG), received a $1.446 billion loan guarantee for the Solana project from the US Department of Energy (DOE) under the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program. A trailer at the southeast corner of the project has signage touting the DOE Loan Programs Office.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

Abengoa Solar claims “Solana will begin operation in 2013” though the original onsite signage states the “Expected Completion Date: Q2 of 2012”.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

Here is a Picasa slideshow of my Solana site photos from the Veterans Day visit.

Abengoa Solar made news last week when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an expensive renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement for the Mojave Solar project with PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG). With the “Abengoa ramps up construction on CSP Mojave Solar Project” press release, Abengoa Solar tried to change the subject from the high generation cost per kWh (kiloWatt-hour) to job creation.

Abengoa Solar acknowledged my request for a Solana site visit and subsequent questions after my unofficial visit but never responded to them. I tried to visit the Solana project office. Without an appointment, I was turned away at the security gate. As I took photos near the security entrance in an obtrusive fashion, a security officer asked me to stop taking photos. I responded I was taking photos from outside the property, and that was the end of it.

A few local residents were observing project developments from the northern border.

From Abengoa Solana Generating Station Project

One comment

  1. Amelia McGregor says:

    My question does not have anything to do with the power plant.
    In 2005 I bought a 4 acre lot near the power plant, I hope you can give an answer, do you think that the land around the power plant will go up or down?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.