The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $10 million in funding for RayGen Resources’ Solar Power Plant Two: Phase 1 project, progressing a “hi-tech solar and thermal storage technology” closer to commercialisation.
According to a statement from ARENA on Thursday, the funding will help RayGen improve its design, achieve material cost reductions, and conduct basic and front-end engineering design (FEED) of a planned, utility-scale 200 megawatt solar and 115 megawatt / 1.2 gigawatt hour storage deployment at its. Carwarp, Victoria site.
The total project budget is $32.7 million.
ARENA has awarded a total of $38.4 million in funding to RayGen since 2012 across five previous projects and the one announced on Thursday.
The announcement coincided with the official opening of the Carwarp power plant, which will demonstrate 4 megawatt of renewable power backed with 2.8 Megawatt / 50 megawatt hours of storage for an estimated 17 hours.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said RayGen’s technology development would help address dispatchable electricity and energy storage needs.
“Given RayGen’s operating characteristics and cost reduction potential at scale, its solar-and-storage technology could make a significant contribution to addressing Australia’s growing need for dispatchable renewable electricity and longer duration energy storage,” said Miller.
RayGen was established in 2010. It describes its generation technology as having similarities to concentrated solar power, and “focuses sunlight using tracking mirrors; but unlike anything else, RayGen uses a field of mirrors to focus sunlight onto a central receiver of photovoltaic modules.”
These modules are polysilicon-free, while – according to RayGen – being almost 2,000 times more powerful than traditional solar panels. withstanding almost 1,000 times the solar concentration, and using cells of almost twice the efficiency.
The modules are cooled with water to prevent overheating, and a third of sunlight is converted into electricity, and the other two-thirds into heat (hot water at 90 degrees Celsius).
Picture: credit ARENA