solar thermal electric

Stirling Energy Systems and Boeing form concentrating solar power partnership

Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and The Boeing Company have formed a strategic partnership to roll-out Boeing’s XR700 high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar power technology, which complements SES’s innovative SunCatcher Concentrating Solar Power System.

Through the recently signed licensing agreement with Boeing, SES has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and deploy Boeing’s HCPV technology. SES will lead the commercialisation process, with Boeing providing technical program development and engineering expertise under a contracting partnership. Tessera Solar, sister company of SES, will be responsible for development, construction and operation of the solar power facilities using the technology.

SES is currently deploying its SunCatcher concentrating solar power technology, which uses a Stirling engine to convert the sun’s heat into electricity. In January, SES and Tessera Solar unveiled the first commercial-scale deployment of the SES SunCatcher at the 1.5-megawatt (MW) Maricopa Solar Plant in Peoria, Arizona.

“This venture with Boeing represents an ideal opportunity for SES to extend our reach into the solar market for future technology deployments with a product that shares many of the SunCatcher’s key differentiating features – scalability, low water use and high-efficiency,” said SES CEO, Steve Cowman.

Boeing began developing the XR700 technology in 2007 in collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program. The technology development phase is expected to continue for the next two years before achieving commercial-scale deployment in 2012.

“Boeing Defense Space & Security Energy Solutions seeks to create new products and services in the emerging energy technology markets, including renewable energy and Smart Grid,” said Tim Noonan, vice president, Boeing Advanced Global Services and Support. “Working with an established leader in concentrating solar power generation allows us to leverage Boeing’s leadership in systems development, materials expertise, and reliability engineering to create jobs and to help green America's vital energy infrastructure.”

Concentrating sun's rays 700 times

The XR700 technology uses a non-imaging optical system to concentrate sunlight by a factor of 700 onto high-efficiency, triple-junction solar cells. The cells currently are supplied by Boeing’s subsidiary Spectrolab, which in 2009 achieved the world record for terrestrial concentrator solar cell efficiency. Boeing is in the initial stages of the development and installation of a 100-kilowatt facility at California State University, Northridge, using the HCPV solar power technology.

This HCPV product will extend SES’s solar energy portfolio and provide access to more project development opportunities for Tessera Solar, especially in the distributed generation sector. The XR700 technology will be aimed at smaller scale projects of 50MW and below. Tessera Solar will continue to deploy the SunCatcher in larger scale projects. Later this year, SES and Tessera Solar will begin construction on three large SunCatcher projects, totalling over 1,600MW, in Texas and California.

“We are pleased to obtain the rights to deploy a complementary technology to the SunCatcher and therefore offer an additional product offering to suit our potential customers that are interested in smaller-scale projects,” said Tessera Solar North America’s CEO Bob Lukefahr.

For additional information:

Sterling Energy Systems

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