The Solaben Solar Power Station Complex also known as Extremadura Solar Complex is the biggest solar photovoltaic power station in Europe. The 200-megawatt (MW) is located in the city of Logrosan, Caceres, Extremadura, Spain. The complex was constructed in two phases and comprises four concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, Solaben 1, 2, 3 and 6, with an installed capacity of 50-megawatt (MW) each. Solaben 2 and 3, the two units in the first phase, became operational respectively in July 2012 and December 2012. The two units under the second phase, Solaben 1 and 6, started commercial operations in September 2013.
Each Solaben unit at the Extremadura Solar Complex covers an area of approximately 280 acres and has an aperture area of 300,000 square metres. Electricity generated from each unit will be sufficient for 26,000 households and cut 31,400-tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Each unit consists of 360 parabolic troughs (collectors), measuring 150m in length and including 12 modules. Other infrastructure facilities at the Spanish solar complex include a heat transfer fluid (HTF) boiler, thermal oil pipes, a turbine, steam generator, and cooling towers. The power generated from the complex is conveyed to the national grid and sold to consumers based on the Spanish feed-in tariff system, which provides the option to purchase electricity at preferential rates in order to promote the use of renewable energy sources.
The Solaben power plants in the solar complex use single-axis E2 parabolic trough technology. This involves long rows of parabolic-shaped mirrors mounted on structures to track the movement of the sun. Solar radiation is concentrated on a receiver tube with highly potent thermal efficiency, where heat transfer fluid (HTF) circulates and reaches heats up to 400°C. Steam produced from the fluid is then used to drive a conventional steam turbine using a Rankine cycle to generate electricity.
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