Australia To Build World’s Largest Single-Tower Solar Thermal Power Plant

Come 2020, Australia will be home to the world’s largest single-tower solar thermal power plant. In recent years, the theme in the world of solar thermal energy is to go big or go home, which means new projects are looking to increase the size of the solar thermal towers rather than including more towers.

South Australia have gone all in, and planned a project which will see the world’s largest single solar thermal tower power plant being built there by 2020.

Named The Aurora Solar Energy Project, this solar thermal tower will have a capacity of 150 MW and the power plant will be able to power around 90,000 households; with an estimated 495 gigawatt hours of electricity bring produced each year.

It works by having thousands of mirrors (heliostats) reflecting and concentrating sunlight on the tower where molten salt technology will store the energy as heat, which will then be used to produce electricity 24 hours a day via a steam-driven turbine.

The molten salt technology can store 1,100 MW of energy which is equivalent to eight hours of maximum output storage – meaning the power plant also has the ability to continually produce electricity throughout the night.

Currently, the largest solar thermal installation in the world is in California which has three towers with a capacity of 392 MW.