JULY 2010

Hydro Aluminum extruded frames chosen for first hybrid solar facility

Hydro’s Extrusion Americas unit has signed an agreement with Florida Power & Light (FPL) to supply custom aluminum extrusions for the first hybrid solar/fossil fuel energy generating facility in the world. When it comes online in late 2010, the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center will produce 75MW.

The Indiantown, Florida facility will employ concentrated solar power (CSP) technology to produce electricity. This process uses parabolic mirrors to capture solar heat, which produces steam that turns a generating turbine.

Hydro will produce the frames, supports, legs and connectors that will raise the 180,000 curved mirrors off the ground and allow them to track the sun throughout the day. Manufacturing plants in St. Augustine, Florida and Belton, South Carolina will supply the parts, provide fabricating and coordinate just-in-time deliveries for the frames used in the 500-acre collecting field.

The extruded aluminum frames are lightweight, yet provide enough torsional strength to withstand hurricanes. The manufacturing process allows the frames, which contain a high percentage of recycled aluminum, to be machined to precise tolerances for quick assembly.

The solar energy generation system will connect to FPL’s existing combined-cycle power plant, allowing the solar thermal capacity to directly displace fossil fuel. The plant will use less fossil fuel during daylight hours when the solar system is helping produce the steam needed to generate electricity. It will produce approximately 155,000 MW of power annually, enough power to serve about 11,000 homes.