SolarReserve is a developer of utility-scale solar power projects which include Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) technology. The company has commercialized solar thermal energy storage technology that enables solar power tower CSP plants to deliver electricity day and night. In this technology, a molten salt is used to capture the energy from the sun and store it. When electricity is needed, the stored liquid salt is used to turn water into steam to turn a turbine and generate electricity.
|Industry||Solar thermal power|
|Tom Georgis (CEO)|
As of May 2015, SolarReserve has developed and secured long-term power contracts for 482 megawatts (MW) of solar projects representing $2.8 billion of project capital, with a development pipeline of more than 6.6 gigawatts (GW) globally. SolarReserve reached its lowest price yet at ¢6.3/kWh for the 2019 Copiapó Solar Project.
In addition to its headquarters in Santa Monica, California, SolarReserve has offices in Spain, Chile, South Africa, Turkey, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.
SolarReserve was formed in early 2008 with seed capital from US Renewables Group, in partnership with United Technologies Corporation (UTC), to commercialize advanced molten salt technology for utility-scale concentrated solar thermal power. This technology was first developed and tested by Rocketdyne for two decades and had more than 100 US and international patents. In September 2008 the company raised an additional $140 million in a Series B funding.
In 2014, SolarReserve acquired ownership from Rocketdyne of its intellectual property rights and patents specifically for molten salt technology for concentrated solar-thermal power and electricity storage, heliostat designs and collector field control systems.
Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project
The 110 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project is the world’s first utility-scale facility to use molten salt power tower energy storage. It has 10,347 tracking mirrors (heliostats) that follow the sun and reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a heat exchanger, a receiver, atop a 640-foot (200 m) tower. Crescent Dunes has 10 hours of storage and was to deliver 500,000 MW hours of electricity per year, day and night, to 75,000 homes. In September, 2011, SolarReserve received a $737 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the project and broke ground. The project had a 25-year agreement with NV Energy for 100 percent of the electricity, but this was terminated by NV Energy in October 2019 due to the project having "failed to produce." Alleging a takeover by the DOE, SolarReserve has raised the possibility of this project filing for bankruptcy.
Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project
The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project is a planned 100 MW solar project located at Postmasburg, near Kimberly, South Africa. The project will have 12 hours of storage to deliver to more than 200,000 South African homes. In May 2019, it was reported that financing for Redstone was almost complete.
Aurora Solar Thermal Power Project
The Aurora Solar Thermal Power Project was a 150MW solar thermal plant proposed to be built about 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Port Augusta in South Australia. The project was expected to cost AUD $650 million and was to be completed by 2020. The promised power delivery price is noted to be competitive with combined-cycle natural-gas plants.
On 5 April 2019, South Australian Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan announced the cancellation of the project.
Copiapó Solar Project
The Copiapó Solar Project near Copiapó, Atacama Region, Chile is a 260 MW hybrid solar power project consisting of CSP and PV energy. It will have 14 hours of storage to deliver to more than 560,000 homes in Atacama. The project is the first of its kind in Chile and will be the largest solar power plant in the world. At the 2017 auction, SolarReserve bid $63/MWh (¢6.3/kWh) for 24-hour CSP power with no subsidies, competing with other types such as LNG gas turbines.
- WIRED, The Window, Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project Part 1: The Facility-The Window-WIRED
- Grunwald, Mike. The Green Revolution is Here, TIME, June 5, 2014. (Subscription required)
- Dipaola, Anthony. SolarReserve Seeks South African Plants, Expansion Into MidEast, Bloomberg, May 9, 2014
- Kraemer, Susan (13 March 2017). "SolarReserve Bids 24-Hour Solar At 6.3 Cents In Chile". CleanTechnica. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- Lunsford, Lynn. Solar Venture Will Draw on Molten Salt. The Wall Street Journal. January 2, 2008.
- Silver, Edward, Solar-to-Salt Energy Start up gets $140 Million in Financing LA Times, September 19, 2008
- Karuh, Carri. Concentrated Solar Power Tower Technology Hits Milestone, Breaking Energy, April 3, 2013
- Woody, Todd. Secret Ingredient to Making Solar Energy Work: Salt, Forbes, April 4, 2012
- Litwin, RZ, High Temperature Molten Salt Receiver, Patent Images, June 20, 2006.
- Kho, Jennifer. SolarReserve Raises $140M for Solar-Thermal Projects, GreenTechMedia.com website, September 16, 2008.
- Yang, Melissah. SolarReserve Buys Aerojet Rocketdyne Division, Los Angeles Business Journal, October 27, 2014
- Kraemer, Susan. CSP 2015 plant data to highlight output costs against tech risk, CSP Today, May 22, 2015
- Kile, Meredith; Johnson, Chanelle Berlin (2014-01-23). "Need to Know: How SolarReserve generates energy around the clock". america.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
- Energy Department Finalizes $737 Million Loan Guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for Nevada Project (Press release). Loan Programs Office (LPO), Dept. of Energy (DOE). September 28, 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "SolarReserve Wins Bid to Build South African Solar Plus Storage Plant". Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- Kraemer, Susan (2019-05-27). "Morocco's Ourazazate Noor III CSP Tower Exceeds Performance Targets". solarpaces.org. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
- Geuss, Megan (14 August 2017). "South Australia okays giant solar thermal plant from SolarReserve". Ars Technica. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
- Lacey, Stephen (14 August 2017). "SolarReserve Inks Deal With South Australia to Supply Solar Thermal Power With Storage for 6 Cents". GreenTech Media. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
- "Port Augusta solar thermal power plant scrapped after failing to secure finance". ABC News. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- “Copiapo Solar”: La primera planta hibrida en el pais que operaria las 24 horas. CNN, March 04, 2015
- Wald, Matthew L. Arizona Utility Tries Storing Solar Energy for Use in the Dark, The New York Times, October 18, 2013, p. B1 (New York edition); also published online at NYTimes.com on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013. Discusses BrightSource Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Ivanpah Solar Power Facility project, and the Solana Generating Station project