EghtesadOnline: Iran’s first solar thermal power plant will become operational in Yazd Province in 2022, which will be integrated with the provincial combined-cycle power plant, the head of Iran's Thermal Power Plants Holding Company said.
“The 20-megawatt station – the first of its kind in the country – is under construction in Ashkezar County on a 40-hectare land adjacent to Yazd combined-cycle power plant,” IRNA quoted Mohsen Tarztalab as saying on Thursday.
An integrated solar combined-cycle (ISCC) power plant is a hybrid technology in which a solar thermal field is integrated within a combined cycle plant. In ISCC plants, solar energy is used as auxiliary heat supplier, supporting the steam cycle, which results in increased generation capacity or a reduction of fossil fuel use.
The unit in the central province is now generating electricity through two 159-MW gas units and a 132-MW steam unit. The solar section will add 20 MW to the output.
Tarztalab noted that solar panels installed in the farm are being manufactured by domestic companies.
“Unlike conventional solar farms, solar thermal power generation systems collect and concentrate sunlight to produce the high temperature heat needed to generate electricity,” he added, noting that the new systems have solar energy collectors with two main components, namely reflectors that capture and focus sunlight onto a receiver.
In most types of systems, a heat-transfer fluid is heated and circulated in the receiver and used to produce steam.
The steam is converted into mechanical energy in a turbine, which powers a generator to produce electricity. Solar thermal power systems have tracking systems that keep sunlight focused onto the receiver throughout the day, as the sun changes position in the sky. Solar thermal power plants usually have a large field or array of collectors that supply heat to a turbine and generator.
Solar power production in Yazd Province has reached 100 MW.
One of the prominent features of the province is that in some regions, including Chahak Rural District in Khatam County, the entire electricity needs are supplied by a solar power plant from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – the peak electricity consumption hours in the arid province.
In the past six years, private firms have invested $50 million in the solar power sector of the province and the government’s share in expanding infrastructure is $10 million.
Regarding the power grid in the province, the official said because almost 75% of the power are used by industries, Yazd is considered an industrial province.
“Despite the fact that electricity consumption in industries is very high, Yazd has one of the most stable power networks in the country,” he said.
Yazd is one of Iran's known centers for textiles and famous for producing ceramics and construction material. It is the driest major city with a yearly precipitation of barely 49 millimeters and only 23 days of rainfall, which is also the hottest city north of the Persian Gulf, with summer temperatures frequently reaching over 40°C in blazing sunshine and no humidity.
The hot and dry climate in Yazd is ideal for harvesting solar energy. The city, 630 km southeast of Tehran, is situated between the two deserts of Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut, the latter known as one of the hottest places on earth. The province has more than 300 sunny days in a year.
The renewable industry is among the slowest-growing sectors and produces 980 MW of the total power capacity of 84,000 MW, most of which is produced from thermal power plants that feed on fossil fuels.
Studies show that renewable investments in Iran are profitable. The Energy Ministry says it has plans for 10,000 MW of renewable capacity output by 2029, albeit with the participation of private enterprise.