ESOL Visits Solana, Largest Trough-Type Solar Plant

The Solana Solar Generating Station is the largest solar plant using parabolic trough technology in the world and is located near Gila Bend, AZ, just outside the Phoenix metro area. Dr. Wagner, Matt Tuman (graduate researcher – MS), Tyler Lee (Faustin-Prinz researcher), and Mark Malkin (Program Director for InterPro at UW-Madison) traveled to the plant in December, 2022, to meet with plant operators and management. The Solana plant is operated by Atlantica Sustainable Yield and includes a permanent staff of solar field operators, power block operators, control room operators, and site engineers and managers. UW-Madison is partnering with Atlantica and Solar Dynamics, LLC, to develop plant emulation software and training programs to better equip their operators for managing the unique and challenging complexities of solar thermal technologies. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under grant number DE-EE0009803.