Solar Energy Generating Systems

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Solar Energy Generating Systems
Solar Plant kl.jpg
Part of the 354 MW SEGS solar complex in northern San Bernardino County, California.
CountryUnited States
LocationMojave Desert
Coordinates35°01′54″N 117°20′53″W / 35.0316°N 117.348°W / 35.0316; -117.348Coordinates: 35°01′54″N 117°20′53″W / 35.0316°N 117.348°W / 35.0316; -117.348
StatusOperational
Commission date1984
Owner(s)NextEra Energy Resources
Solar farm
TypeCSP
CSP technologyParabolic trough
Site area1,600 acres (647.5 ha)
Power generation
Nameplate capacity354
Capacity factor21%
Annual generation662
 
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"SEGS" redirects here. For the airport with that ICAO code, see Seymour Airport.
Solar Energy Generating Systems
Solar Plant kl.jpg
Part of the 354 MW SEGS solar complex in northern San Bernardino County, California.
CountryUnited States
LocationMojave Desert
Coordinates35°01′54″N 117°20′53″W / 35.0316°N 117.348°W / 35.0316; -117.348Coordinates: 35°01′54″N 117°20′53″W / 35.0316°N 117.348°W / 35.0316; -117.348
StatusOperational
Commission date1984
Owner(s)NextEra Energy Resources
Solar farm
TypeCSP
CSP technologyParabolic trough
Site area1,600 acres (647.5 ha)
Power generation
Nameplate capacity354
Capacity factor21%
Annual generation662

Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) in California, with the combined capacity from three separate locations at 354 megawatts (MW, 474,700 hp), is the largest[citation needed] solar thermal energy generating facility in the world. It consists of nine solar power plants in California's Mojave Desert, where insolation is among the best available in the United States. SEGS I–II (44 MW) are located at Daggett (34°51′45″N 116°49′45″W / 34.86250°N 116.82917°W / 34.86250; -116.82917), SEGS III–VII (150 MW) are installed at Kramer Junction, and SEGS VIII–IX (160 MW) are placed at Harper Lake (35°02′N 117°21′W / 35.033°N 117.350°W / 35.033; -117.350).[1] NextEra Energy Resources operates and partially owns the plants located at Kramer Junction and Harper Lake.

Plants' scale and operations[edit]

The plants have a 354 MW installed capacity. The average gross solar output for all nine plants at SEGS is around 75 MWe a capacity factor of 21%. In addition, the turbines can be utilized at night by burning natural gas.

NextEra claims that the solar plants power 232,500 homes (during the day, at peak power) and displace 3,800 tons of pollution per year that would have been produced if the electricity had been provided by fossil fuels, such as oil.[2]

The facilities have a total of 936,384 mirrors and cover more than 1,600 acres (647.5 ha). Lined up, the parabolic mirrors would extend over 229 miles (369 km).

As an example of cost, in 2002, one of the 30 MW Kramer Junction sites required $90 million to construct, and its operation and maintenance cost was about $3 million per year (4.6 cents per kilowatt hour).[3] With a considered lifetime of 20 years, the operation, maintenance and investments interest and depreciation triples the price, to approximately 14 cents per kilowatt hour.[citation needed]

Principle of operation[edit]

Sketch of a Parabolic Trough Collector

The installation uses parabolic trough, solar thermal technology along with natural gas to generate electricity. About 90% of the electricity is produced by the sunlight.[citation needed] Natural gas is only used when the solar power is insufficient to meet the demand from Southern California Edison, the distributor of power in southern California.

Mirrors[edit]

The parabolic mirrors are shaped like a half-pipe. The sun shines onto the panels made of glass, which are 94% reflective, unlike a typical mirror, which is only 70% reflective. The mirrors automatically track the sun throughout the day. The greatest source of mirror breakage is wind, with 3,000 mirrors typically replaced each year. Operators can turn the mirrors to protect them during intense wind storms. An automated washing mechanism is used to periodically clean the parabolic reflective panels.

Heat transfer[edit]

The sunlight bounces off the mirrors and is directed to a central tube filled with synthetic oil, which heats to over 400 °C (750 °F). The reflected light focused at the central tube is 71 to 80 times more intense than the ordinary sunlight. The synthetic oil transfers its heat to water, which boils and drives the Rankine cycle steam turbine,[4] thereby generating electricity. Synthetic oil is used to carry the heat (instead of water) to keep the pressure within manageable parameters.

Individual locations[edit]

The SEGS power plants were built by Luz Industries,[4][5] and commissioned between 1984 and 1991. After Luz Industries' bankruptcy in 1991 plants were sold to various investor groups as individual projects, and expansion including three more plants was halted.[citation needed]

Kramer Junction employs about 95 people and 45 people work at Harper Lake.

SEGS plant history and operational data (1985-1990)
PlantYear
built
LocationNet turbine
capacity
Field
area
Oil
temperature
Gross solar production
of electricity (MWh)
(MW)(m²)(°C)198519861987198819891990
SEGS I1984Daggett1482,96030719,26122,51025,05516,92723,52721,491
SEGS II1985Daggett30165,37631625,08523,43138,91443,86239,156
SEGS III1986Kramer Jct.30230,30034949,44461,47563,09669,410
SEGS IV1986Kramer Jct.30230,30034952,18164,76270,55274,661
SEGS V1987Kramer Jct.30250,50034962,85865,28072,449
SEGS VI1988Kramer Jct.30188,00039048,04562,690
SEGS VII1988Kramer Jct.30194,28039038,86857,661
SEGS VIII1989Harper Lake80464,340390114,996
SEGS IX1990Harper Lake80483,9603905,974
Total production (MWh)19,26147,595150,111244,937353,230518,487
Sources: Solargenix Energy,[6] KJC Operating Company,[7] IEEE,[8] NREL[9][10]
SEGS plant history and operational data (1991-2002)
Gross solar production
of electricity (MWh)
Plant199119921993199419951996199719981999200020012002average 1998–2002Total
SEGS I20,25217,93820,36820,19419,80019,87919,22818,68611,25017,23517,94717,40216,500331,550
SEGS II35,16832,48136,88236,56635,85335,99534,81733,83633,40831,20732,49731,51132,500549,159
SEGS III60,13448,70258,24856,89256,66364,17064,67770,59870,68965,99469,36966,12568,555995,686
SEGS IV64,60051,00758,93557,79554,92961,97064,50371,63571,14263,45764,84270,31368,2781,017,283
SEGS V59,00955,38367,68566,25563,75771,43975,93675,22970,29373,81071,82673,23572,8791,014,444
SEGS VI64,15547,08755,72456,90863,65071,40970,01967,35871,06668,54367,33964,48367,758878,476
SEGS VII58,37346,94054,11053,25161,22070,13869,18667,65166,25864,19564,21062,19665,048834,986
SEGS VIII102,464109,361130,999134,578133,843139,174136,410137,905135,233140,079137,754138,977137,9901,691,773
SEGS IX144,805129,558130,847137,915138,959141,916139,697119,732107,513128,315132,051137,570125,0361,594,852
Total608,960538,458613,798620,358628,674676,091674,473662,631636,851652,835657,834662,542654,5398,967,123
Sources: Solargenix Energy,[11] KJC Operating Company,[7] IEEE,[8] NREL[10][12]
SEGS plant history and operational data (2003-2012)
Net solar production
of electricity (MWh)
Plant2003200420052006200720082009201020112012average 2003–2012Total
SEGS I[13]6,9138,4216,3665,559-10,7059,03310,64811,16411,6668,04880,475
SEGS II[14]11,14214,58213,3757,5475,44528,04018,63522,82926,19825,12617,292172,919
SEGS III[15]59,02764,41356,68051,72159,48069,01262,97160,02961,35056,87760,156601,560
SEGS IV[16]58,10062,00656,34952,43959,79969,33863,56363,08457,68462,41460,478604,776

Harper Lake[edit]

SEGS VIII and SEGS IX, located at 35°01′54″N 117°20′53″W / 35.0316°N 117.348°W / 35.0316; -117.348 (SEGS VIII and IX), are the largest solar thermal power plants individually and collectively in the world.[17] They were the last, the largest, and the most advanced of the nine plants at SEGS, designed to take advantage of the economies of scale. Construction of the tenth plant in the same locality was halted because of the bankruptcy of Luz Industries. Construction of the approved eleventh and twelfth plants never started. Each of the three planned plants had 80 MW of installed capacity.[18]

Kramer Junction[edit]

The reflectors at Kramer Junction site facing the western sky to focus the late afternoon sunlight at the absorber tubes partially seen in the picture as bright white spots.

This location (35°00′51″N 117°33′32″W / 35.0142°N 117.559°W / 35.0142; -117.559 (SEGS III–VII)) receives an average of 340 days of sunshine per year, which makes it an ideal place for solar power generation. The average direct normal radiation (DNR) is 7.44 kWh/m²/day (310 W/m²),[7] one of the best in the nation[citation needed].

Daggett[edit]

SEGS I and II are located at 34°51′47″N 116°49′37″W / 34.8631°N 116.827°W / 34.8631; -116.827 (SEGS I and II) and are owned by Cogentrix Energy (Carlyle Group).[19]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

In February 1999, a 900,000-US-gallon (3,400 m3) Mineral Oil storage tank exploded at the SEGS I (Daggett) solar power plant, sending flames and smoke into the sky. Authorities were trying to keep flames away from two adjacent containers that held sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. The immediate area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) was evacuated.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Energy Blog: About Parabolic Trough Solar
  2. ^ "Solar Electric Generating System" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  3. ^ "Reducing the Cost of Energy from Parabolic Trough Solar Power Plants", NREL, 2003
  4. ^ a b "Solar thermal power generation". Solel Solar Systems Ltd. Archived from the original on 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  5. ^ Alexis Madrigal (November 16, 2009). "Crimes Against the Future: The Demise of Luz". Inventing Green. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Cohen, Gilbert (2006). "Nevada First Solar Electric Generating System" (PDF). IEEE May Technical Meeting. Las Vegas, Nevada: Solargenix Energy. p. 10. 
  7. ^ a b c Frier, Scott (1999). "An overview of the Kramer Junction SEGS recent performance" (PDF). Parabolic Trough Workshop. Ontario, California: KJC Operating Company. 
  8. ^ a b Kearney, D. (August 1989). "Solar Electric Generating Stations (SEGS)". IEEE Power Engineering Review (IEEE) 9 (8): 4–8. doi:10.1109/MPER.1989.4310850. 
  9. ^ Price, Hank (2002). "Parabolic trough technology overview" (PDF). Trough Technology - Algeria. NREL. p. 9. 
  10. ^ a b Solar Electric Generating Station IX
  11. ^ Cohen, Gilbert (2006). "Nevada First Solar Electric Generating System" (PDF). IEEE May Technical Meeting. Las Vegas, Nevada: Solargenix Energy. p. 10. 
  12. ^ Price, Hank (2002). "Parabolic trough technology overview" (PDF). Trough Technology - Algeria. NREL. p. 9. 
  13. ^ EIA Electricity Data Browser - SEGS I
  14. ^ EIA Electricity Data Browser - SEGS II
  15. ^ EIA Electricity Data Browser - SEGS III
  16. ^ EIA Electricity Data Browser - SEGS IV
  17. ^ Jones, J. (2000), "Solar Trough Power Plants", National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
  18. ^ California Energy Commission - Large Solar Energy Projects
  19. ^ SUNRAY/SEGS
  20. ^ Storage Tank at Solar Power Plant in Desert Explodes; Immediate Area Is Evacuated