The integration of steam from a central-receiver solar field into a combined cycle power plant (CCPP) provides an option to convert solar energy into electricity at the highest possible efficiency, because of the high pressure and temperature conditions of the solar steam, and at the lowest capital investment, because the water-steam cycle of the CCPP is in shared use with the solar field.
From the operational point of view, the plant operator has the option to compensate the variability of the solar energy with fossil fuel electricity production, to use the solar energy to save fuel and to boost the plant power output, while reducing the environmental footprint of the plant operation.
Alstom is able to integrate very large amounts of solar energy in its new combined-cycle power plants, in the range of the largest solar field ever built (Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, California, 3 units, total 392 MWel). The performance potential of such integration is analyzed both at base load and at part load operation of the plant.
Additionally, the potential for solar retrofit of existing combined-cycle power plants is assessed. In this case, other types of concentrating solar power technologies than central receiver (linear Fresnel and trough) may be best suited to the specific conditions. Alstom is able to integrate any of these technologies into existing combined-cycle power plants.