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Delta Contributes to the World’s Largest Solar Plant

By Delta on February 19th, 2016
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Delta IA’s heliostat control is used for the world’s largest concentrating solar plant

The Delta Industrial Automation team worked closely with SolarReserve’s solar plant over a six year period to develop, install, troubleshoot and commission the Delta heliostat tracking system. This project is located in Nevada and is the world’s first utility-scale solar power plant with molten salt energy storage. It uses 10,347 tracking mirrors, called heliostats, controlled by a positioning and tracking solution developed by Delta’s Industrial Automation team. This focuses the sun’s energy onto a receiver atop a 640 foot tower to directly heat molten salt and then stores it, so electricity can be produced day and night. The process functions with the sun’s energy, utilising no fossil fuels. Electricity is reliably delivered on-demand, much like a coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear power plant, except with zero emissions, zero hazardous waste and low water use.

Crescent Dunes will deliver more than 500,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, twice the output of a similar sized photovoltaic solar project without storage. The state of Nevada’s largest electric utility, NV Energy, will purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated by the Crescent Dunes project under a 25-year power purchase agreement and is expected to dispatch the project to generate solar electricity until 12 midnight in order to meet its peak energy demand periods.

The SolarReserve Crescent Dunes site is located in Nevada’s Great Basin dessert over 200 miles from any major city with temperature of 20°F in the winter to over 90°F in the summer. The IA team shipped 100% of the heliostat controls to the Crescent dunes site to assemble in a specifically constructed facility in order to construct the 10,347 heliostats on location. This process took over one year to complete. Several technical issues where quickly resolved by the joint Delta, Commercial, Engineering and Manufacturing team, who put in long hours on site to assure customer satisfaction.

“Delta’s solar tracking solution offers industry leading performance and pointing accuracy, while using less energy to position the heliostats,” said Tim Connor, SolarReserve’s Vice President of engineering and technology. “Our team worked closely with Delta engineering to develop advanced tracking technology that helps boost overall plant performance.”