alexa India’s first solar thermal parabolic trough pilot power plant.


Research & Reviews: Journal of Engineering and Technology

Author(s): AS Pidaparthi, NR Prasad

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India is yet to gain experience in building and operating solar thermal power plants on the megawatt scale. Solar energy accounts for less than 1% of the total energy produced in India[1], . While photovoltaic power plants continue to dominate in India, the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) market has yet to build, operate and maintain its first large scale solar thermal power plant in India. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) was introduced in 2010. The aim of this mission is to create an enabling policy framework for the deployment of 20,000 MW of solar power by the year 2022[2], . In the first phase of the national solar mission, out of the 620 MW allocated by the federal government, 470 MW was allocated to solar thermal power and 150 MW to solar photovoltaic power [3], . The majority of these projects are located in the desert state of Rajasthan, the sunniest region in the country. In 2010, IIT Bombay, a premier education institution in Mumbai, decided to create a test facility which would help in gaining experience in design, operation and maintenance of large scale solar thermal power plants. This facility would also help in facilitating research development in the solar industry in India. This project was named ‘National Solar Thermal Power Testing, Simulation and Research Facility’. The objective of the project was to install an expected combined capacity of 5 MWth, supply it to the national grid and also to act as a facility for component testing [4]. The 5 MWth power was divided into two power plants of different technologies: Parabolic trough and linear Fresnel reflector technology. The 3MWth parabolic trough solar field was built by Abengoa. Abengoa (MCE: ABG.B) applies innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, generating electricity from renewable resources, converting biomass into biofuels and producing drinking water from sea water. ( The 3 MWth solar thermal parabolic trough field built by Abengoa, is the first parabolic trough power plant in India. The heat transfer fluid used is Therminol VP-1 which has an operating range of 12 - 400 degrees Celsius. The control system of the solar field is based on a hierarchical architecture of three levels. The plant is equipped with controllers to track the position of the sun on real time basis and optimize the energy absorption. The plant does not release any carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The parabolic trough solar collector field has been supplied by Abengoa, and the power block and the Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) system have been supplied by IIT Bombay. The solar field consists of three loops with parabolic troughs of a total of about 1,500 meters in length and covering an area of 8,000 square meters. The solar field configuration of three loops of four collectors includes 12 steel structures of 10 modules, 3,360

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This article was published in Energy Procedia. and referenced in Research & Reviews: Journal of Engineering and Technology

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