The Andasol solar power station is Europe's first commercial parabolic trough solar thermal power plant, located near Guadix in the province of Granada, Spain.

Andasol Solar Power Station

Andasol Solar Power Station
Country Spain
Location near Guadix,Granada
Coordinates 37°13′42.70″N 3°4′6.73″W / 37.228528°N 3.0685361°W / 37.228528; -3.0685361Coordinates: 37°13′42.70″N 3°4′6.73″W / 37.228528°N 3.0685361°W / 37.228528; -3.0685361
Owner ACS Group (Andasol 1 & 2)
Solar Millennium
MAN Ferrostaal AG
Stadtwerke München
RWE Innogy
Status Operational (Andasol 1 & 2)
Fuel Solar
Installed capacity 50 MW
Commissioned 2009

Andasol is the first parabolic trough solar power plant in Europe, and Andasol 1 went online in March 2009. Because of the high altitude (1,100 m) and the desert climate, the site has exceptionally high annual direct insolation of 2,200 kWh/m² per year. Each plant has a gross electricity output of 50 megawatts (MWe), producing around 180 gigawatt-hours (GW·h) per year (21 MW·yr per year). Each collector has a surface of 51 hectares (equal to 70 soccer fields); it occupies about 200 ha of land.

Andasol has a thermal storage system which absorbs part of the heat produced in the solar field during the day. This heat is then stored in a molten salt mixture of 60% sodium nitrate and 40% potassium nitrate. A turbine produces electricity using this heat during the evening, or when the sky is overcast. This process almost doubles the number of operational hours at the solar thermal power plant per year. A full thermal reservoir holds 1,010 MW·h of heat, enough to run the turbine for about 7.5 hours at full-load, in case it rains or after sunset. The heat reservoirs each consist of two tanks measuring 14 m in height and 36 m in diameter and containing molten salt. Andasol 1 is able to supply environmentally friendly solar electricity for up to 200,000 people.


Andasol 1 cost around €300 million (US$380 million) to build. The developers say Andasol's electricity will cost €0.271 per kilowatt-hour (kW·h) to produce. Thermal energy storage at 400 degrees C (75 tonnes of salt per MWhe) costs roughly US$50 per kilowatt-hour of capacity, according to Greg Glatzmaier of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) — about 5% of Andasol's total cost.

In Spain, solar-thermal electricity receives a feed-in tariff of just under €0.27/kW·h for the next 25 years.

The Andasol solar power plants are helping to meet summer peak electricity demand in the Spanish power grid primarily caused by air conditioning units. The electricity supplied from the Andasol plants is ideal for meeting the demand during the day, particularly early afternoon, when the power demand reaches its peak and solar radiation (as well as the power plant output) are also at their peak.


The developer of the Andasol 1 and Andasol 2 plants are Solar Millennium (25%) and ACS Cobra (75%). After planing, engineering and construction Solar Millennium sold their shares to ACS Group. Andasol 3 is developed by the consortium of Solar Millennium and MAN Ferrostaal. Marquesado Solar SL is the investor consortium which is going to commission and operate Andasol 3. Shareholders of Marquesado Solar SL are:

  • Solanda GmbH, a joint venture of Solar Millennium and MAN Ferrostaal AG (26%)
  • Stadtwerke München (48.9%)
  • RWE Innogy & RheinEnergie (25.1%)