SolarReserve teams up with Heliostat SA for Aurora project

An artist's rendering of the Aurora Solar Energy Project

SolarReserve and Heliostat SA have inked a deal to deliver a 150MW solar thermal power station in South Australia.

The Aurora Solar Energy Project, located near Port Augusta, will incorporate eight hours of full-load storage and more than 500GWh a year.

SolarReserve and Heliostat SA have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop plans and processes for the supply, fabrication and assembly of more than 12,800 of SolarReserve’s proprietary SR96 heliostat assemblies for the project.

Heliostats are the large tracking mirrors in a solar thermal power station that follow the sun throughout the day and precisely reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver.

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 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.

Heliostat SA CEO David Linder-Patton said signing the MOU marked a significant step forward in the partnership between the two companies.

“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,” he said.

“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 more than 115 unique skilled labor positions related to manufacturing of steel components and heliostat assemblies.

The balance of construction of the Aurora project is anticipated to create an additional 650 full-time construction jobs on site, and more than 4000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the region.

“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,” SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said.

“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.”

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.

SolarReserve hopes to build six solar thermal projects in South Australia in the next ten years.

“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,” SolarReserve senior vice president of development Tom Georgis said.