The world's largest solar thermal company, Solel designs, manufactures and installs solar fields for utility scale power, on-site power plants and industrial solar heating & air-conditioning systems. Solel's patented technology uses reflectors to concentrate the sun's energy and produce heat, which is then transformed into electricity through the use of steam-powered turbines.
In 2007, Beit Shemesh-based Solel entered into an agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to build the world's largest solar plant - to be established in California's Mojave Desert. The project will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power, enough to power 400,000 homes, to PG&E's customers in northern and central California. When fully operational in 2011, the Mojave Solar Park plant will cover up to 6,000 acres in the Mojave Desert.
Solel's technology has already been in use for almost 20 years at a group of solar power plants in California's Mojave Desert, providing 350 megawatts of clean, renewable energy and eliminating the need for 2 million barrels of oil a year.
Solel also has an agreement to build three 50 megawatt solar thermal power plants in Spain, and last week Solel signed a landmark contract to supply 46,000 solar thermal receivers to to Aries Termoelectrica, which is building a solar power plant in Castile-La Mancha, Spain.
Next up for Solel: bidding for a contract to build and operate Israel's planned 250 megawatt solar power plant at Ashalim in the Negev Desert.
As described on its web site, Solel’s technology converts sunshine into useful thermal energy, and subsequently into electricity, by way of parabolic mirrors that concentrate the solar energy onto solar thermal receivers containing a heat transfer fluid. The heat transfer fluid is circulated and heated through the receivers, and the heat is released to a series of heat exchangers to generate super-heated steam. The steam powers a turbine/generator to produce electricity delivered to a utility’s electric grid.
A central computerized tracking facility enables optimal absorption of the sun’s energy by automatically adjusting the alignment of the parabolic mirrors. From the moment the sun rises until it dips over the horizon, all of its rays are captured and converted into usable energy.