SolarReserve, a developer of large-scale solar power projects and advanced solar thermal technology, has announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Heliostat SA, a South Australian company focused on the manufacture and assembly of heliostats and heliostat components.
Under the MOU, Heliostat SA and SolarReserve will partner in the development of plans and processes for the supply, fabrication and assembly of more than 12,800 of SolarReserve’s proprietary SR96 heliostat assemblies for the Aurora Solar Energy Project near Port Augusta, South Australia.
Heliostats are the large tracking mirrors in a solar thermal power station, which follow the sun throughout the day and precisely reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver. [How it works] The SR96 heliostat will provide market leading performance, fully integrated with SolarReserve’s proprietary molten salt receiver and controls system. Each of the assemblies includes 96 square metres of glass, plus steel supports and electric drives, resulting in a field of mirrors with more than a million square metres of surface area.
“We’re excited to have formed a long-term partnership with Heliostat SA and look forward to teaming up with them to bring manufacturing of our world-class heliostats to South Australian workers,” said Kevin Smith, SolarReserve’s Chief Executive Officer. “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.”
“Signing the MOU marks a significant step forward in the partnership between our companies,” said David Linder-Patton, Heliostat SA’s Chief Executive Officer. “The team at Heliostat SA are really looking forward to adapting the low-cost manufacturing techniques learned from more than 20 years of automotive knowhow into the manufacture and assembly of the SR96. Heliostat SA plans to exploit our supply chain knowledge across the SR96 program, to ensure a very high local South Australian content is achieved.”
Close to 200 jobs could be created in South Australia solely as a result of a deal between Heliostat SA and SolarReserve for the Aurora project, including over 115 unique skilled labor positions related to manufacturing of steel components and heliostat assemblies. The two companies are working together to complete the final agreement, which includes achieving as much local content and labour as possible. The balance of construction of SolarReserve’s Aurora project in Port August is anticipated to create an additional 650 full-time construction jobs on site, and more than 4,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the region.
The Aurora project is being developed with the option to add solar photovoltaic (PV) technology in order to maximise electricity generation from the CSP facility during peak demand periods, as well as meet the station’s own electricity needs. The addition of PV could broaden the scope of Heliostat SA’s manufacturing supply to include PV racking systems.
Investing in South Australia’s Renewable Energy Future
The Aurora project is part of a much bigger picture for South Australia. SolarReserve hopes to build six solar thermal projects in the State over the next ten years, with their Australian headquarters in Adelaide serving as the development hub. South Australian manufacturing will be well positioned to support these future projects.
“The Aurora project along with SolarReserve’s future investment in the state will develop a supply chain and local manufacturing expertise that can be leveraged across the broader region, create thousands of jobs for South Australians, and bring about a new age in clean, reliable and affordable energy,” said Tom Georgis, SolarReserve’s Senior Vice President of Development.
Heliostat SA is a South Australian company and part of the Fusion Renewables Group which comprises Precision Components, Fusion Capital, and the University of South Australia. Precision Components is a founder shareholder of Heliostat SA, having historically been a tier one supplier to Ford, Toyota and GM Holden.
After auto producers announced their decision to cease manufacturing cars in Australia, Heliostat SA was borne out of Precision’s strategic plan to transition from a component hot stamping and metal pressing business to an advanced manufacturing and engineering business with a focus on high value-add, specialized products in emerging markets leveraging collaborative partnerships with like-minded companies and universities. Fusion Capital is the investment arm of Precision Components and looks at investments into advanced manufacturing and engineering opportunities, which have synergies with their existing portfolio of projects and include mass transport solutions and renewable