GE invests in solar power plant in Spain

GE (NYSE: GE) business unit GE Energy Financial Services said it and German fund KGAL are jointly investing €111.1 million ($177 million) in a 50 MW parabolic trough concentrated solar power plant using molten salt energy storage in Spain.

The GE unit and KGAL agreed to invest structured equity in Extresol II, developed by Spain-based ACS. Additional financial details were not disclosed. An ACS subsidiary, Cobra, finished construction of Extresol II in Dec. 2010 and provides operations and maintenance services to the plant.

GE said this investment is GE Energy Financial Services’ first in a concentrated solar power plant using molten salt storage. Extresol II stores some of the solar heat by melting a salt mixture during the day, then extracts the heat when the sun isn’t shining, such as at night, to continue producing steam for the turbines. Because salt is able to store heat for long periods, GE said these facilities can generate electricity an extra seven hours a day.

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