This website uses third-party cookies to collect statistical information related to your navigation. If you continue to browse, we consider you accept this use. See more information on our cookies policy here.

The enormous advantages offered by solar thermal power have driven the sector forward over recent years, with solar power currently providing a mature, profitable and efficient solution for power generation.

In this regard, the solar power market has continued to experience global growth over 2012, due in part to its expanding globalization and international expansion. Although certain countries with experience in the solar power market, such as Spain, have scaled down their growth plans, other countries with huge solar resource potential have taken up the mantle and are driving growth within the market. Countries such as South Africa, India, China and Saudi Arabia have been rolling out lofty plans to develop and promote renewable energies based on the concession of new projects and with specific capacity targets in place for both photovoltaic and solar thermal energy.

From a technological standpoint, rapid gains have been made in solar thermal power plants, with the aim invariably being to render them more efficient. The sector will therefore witness a gradual reduction in costs, allowing solar energy to compete in cost-terms with conventional power sources in the mid-term, while providing clean and safe generation. Thanks to these advances, solar energy is, and will continue to be, an optimal solution for power generation in both developed and emerging countries, while playing a central part in the energy mix of these countries.

Against this backdrop of fierce competition, Abengoa’s technological innovation and flexibility in adapting to new regions allowed it, in 2012, to cement its position as an international benchmark within the solar power market.

Solar concessions at Abengoa are divided into the following lines of activity:

  • Development of solar and hybrid power plants.
  • Commercial operation of solar and hybrid power plants.

By constructing and commissioning new plants, ramping up its international presence in new markets and securing contracts in relation to new projects featuring groundbreaking technologies hitherto untested in a commercial environment, Abengoa has underscored its position of global leadership in the field of solar thermal power plants under concession.

Abengoa’s solar business has power generation facilities and offices across the globe, covering a wide range of different regions:

  • Europe: Spain and Italy.
  • America: United States and Chile.
  • Africa: Morocco, Algeria and South Africa.
  • Asia: UAE, China and India.
  • Oceania: Australia.


Although most of its plants are located in its two main markets, namely Spain and the United States, Abengoa is striving to expand internationally. Through this process of internationalization, Abengoa is not only spurring on the future growth of its concession-based solar power business, but is also diversifying its business, enabling it to reduce concentration risk, meaning the uncertainty associated with possible regulatory or market changes.

The company also focuses heavily on analyzing and developing potential new markets, working actively with local governments in preparing new development plans for solar power and offering them its many years of experience in plant development.

Moreover, our commitment to diversification and technological innovation means we can swiftly adapt to the conditions and requirements of new markets while offering bespoke solutions that optimize solar-based power generation in each region.

Abengoa’s solar business continued to meet its targets over the course of 2012 while cementing its global leadership in installed solar technology capacity. Abengoa currently has 19 solar power plants in commercial operation.

All plants operating commercially (2 power tower plants, 4 parabolic trough plants, 5 photovoltaic plants and 1 hybrid plant) have reported high levels of efficiency, while actual production is exceeding the production levels estimated prior to construction. A total of seven new plants were also commissioned in 2012.

Looking ahead to 2013, Abengoa’s solar business will focus its efforts on reaching a number of international milestones:

  • Ongoing construction of its international projects in South Africa and the United States.
  • Operational start-up of the Shams-1 plant in the United Arab Emirates and the Solana facility in the United States.
  • Expanding the project pipeline by bidding on new business opportunities in emerging markets.

Solar power concessions at Abengoa are divided into the following lines of activity:

  • Development of solar and hybrid power plants.
    This area includes activities such as prospecting ideal locations for solar plants, carrying out the necessary administrative formalities to proceed with construction, negotiating project financing and construction agreements and, when needed, identifying potential partners and reaching agreements with the same. These steps are invariably followed, whether in the case of solar plants that generate electricity, hybrid plants that harness sunlight along with a conventional energy source, or industrial plants that generate heat for commercial and industrial uses.
  • Commercial operation:
    The solar power plants developed by Abengoa sell their electricity under long-term concession-based agreements. Optimal operation and maintenance of these plants is key to locking in or even enhancing the projected returns from the plants, while the company’s experience in carrying out this crucial work enables it to make technological improvements to future plants. Moreover, the sheer number of commercial plants currently in operation has allowed Abengoa to harness synergies between the different facilities, thus increasing their operational efficiency further.

Solúcar platform

At year-end 2012, Abengoa had a total of 743 MW in operation and a further 910 MW under construction in different regions worldwide:


During 2012, the company gained further experience in operating the two main solar thermal technologies: power tower and parabolic trough.

In terms of power tower technology, we already have over five years of experience operating the PS10 plant, the world’s first commercial plant, and more than three years operating the PS20, both located at the Solúcar Platform in Sanlúcar la Mayor, Seville (Spain). The PS10 facility generates clean energy to meet the needs of 5,500 households, thus helping to cut annual CO2 emissions by 6,000 t, whereas the PS20 plant generates enough electricity to power 10,000 households while helping to slash annual CO2 emissions by 12,000 t. 


Shifting our attention to parabolic trough plants, 550 MW have entered commercial operation at a number of different solar platforms in Spain, with 11 plants now utilizing this technology. Each of these parabolic trough plants generates enough electricity to meet the yearly power needs of 26,000 households while helping to cut annual CO2 emissions by 31,400 t.

One of the main advantages of the company operating and maintaining a large number of plants is that it helps to lower operation and maintenance costs due to the synergies, warehouse management and maintenance agreements with manufacturers, and training of highly skilled personnel. Furthermore, benchmarking can be conducted, thus helping to pinpoint things that can be improved on and develop optimal operating strategies.

At the Solúcar Platform, the first three parabolic trough plants to have been brought into commercial operation by Abengoa have been operating successfully since 2010. These facilities are providing considerable value-added, as operating them on a daily basis has proved to be a continual learning process and has generated a wealth of valuable experience that can be used when designing new plants and operating methods, and also when developing specific operational support components, thus confirming Abengoa’s position of technological leadership within the sector.

In addition, Spain has a further four solar platforms featuring parabolic trough plants, three of them in collaboration with leading international partners: Eon, JGC and ITOCHU.

These plants are located at the Écija Solar Platform, with the first of its two plants operational since 2011 and the second since 2012, and at the El Carpio, Solar Extremadura and Solar Castilla-La Mancha Platforms, also operational since 2012. All these plants have been operating commercially for several months at least, reporting very promising results in terms of power output. The success of these new arrivals has been made possible thanks to the experience Abengoa has built up over the years.

Extremadura platform


Abengoa has been consolidating operations at the 150 MW Hassi R’Mel hybrid combined cycle facility with solar field in Algeria, which is celebrating its first year in commercial operation.


Upcoming concessions

Looking ahead to 2013, the Solana (Arizona, United States) and Shams-1 (located in the desert of Abu Dhabi) are expected to enter operation, with both to become part of Abengoa's infrastructure under concession line of business, illustrating once again the company's drive towards diversifying and internationalizing its business. In the coming years, the company intends to continue expanding its concession-based business internationally with the Mojave Solar project, in California, United States, and Khi Solar and Kaxu Solar in South Africa. All these plants are currently under construction.


Solúcar platform


Extremadura platform