SolarReserve, headquartered in California, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Australia’s Heliostat for the development of plans and processes for the supply, fabrication and assembly of its SR96 heliostat assemblies for Heliostat’s 150MW Aurora project.
An artist's impression of the Aurora plant to be built by SolarReserve in South Australia.
The two companies are working together to complete the final agreement.
Each SR96 heliostat mirror will include 96sq m of glass plus steel supports and electric drives resulting in a field of mirrors with more than a million square metres of surface area.
The heliostats at the Aurora project will reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver on top of a tower. The process heats molten salt, pumped to the top of the tower and flowing through the receiver, to 565 degrees Celsius.
The molten salt provides a stored heat source that is used to generate steam to drive a single turbine that generates electricity. The facility will be capable of generating power at full load for up to eight hours after sunset.
Heliostat SA’s Chief Executive David Linder-Patton said signing the MOU marked a significant step forward in the partnership between both companies.
“The team at Heliostat SA is really looking forward to adapting the low-cost manufacturing techniques learned from more than 20 years of automotive know how into the manufacture and assembly of the SR96,” he said.
The Aurora Solar Energy Project located in Port Augusta, about 300km north of the South Australian capital Adelaide, will incorporate eight hours of storage or 1100 MWh, allowing it to operate like a conventional coal or gas power station.
The MOU is the most significant advancement in the project since it was granted development approval and opened its Australian headquarters in January.
SolarReserve’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Smith said the company was looking forward to teaming up with Heliostat SA to bring manufacture of its world-class heliostats to South Australia.
“SolarReserve is committed to supporting South Australia’s goals which will attract investment, create South Australian jobs and build an exciting and growing new industry,” he said.
South Australia has become a world leader in renewable energy projects in recent years and is home to Elon Musk’s ‘world’s biggest battery’, which began operating at a wind farm in the state’s Mid-North late last year.
The state also leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and rooftop solar with renewable sources accounting for more than 40 percent of the electricity generated.