New York City, February 18, 2010 – Thermal solar power company eSolar and power plant developer Ferrostaal AG set a partnership to build renewable power stations in markets such as Spain, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.
Unlike photovoltaic panels that turn sunlight directly into electricity, concentrated solar thermal power technology uses mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a receiver mounted atop a tower. The heat from the concentrated light boils water to produce steam to power a turbine and produce electricity.
The growth of thermal solar power has been slow, although a major renewable energy push by China as well as a major plant planned for the Sahara and rapid developments in Spain could give the technology a boost in the coming years.
Under the new partnership, eSolar will supply the solar field and receiver technology, while Ferrostaal, which is owned by MAN and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co, will provide power turbines and act as general contractor. It will also manage financing activities of projects.
eSolar, headquartered in Pasadena, California, currently has a 5 megawatt plant in operation in California, although its base unit is for plants that cover about 200 acres and have a capacity of 46 MW.
Last month, the company announced it reached a deal with a Chinese power equipment maker to build a 2,000 MW project in China over the next decade.
Rogan declined to comment on the cost of developing the company’s plants, but said that it is forecast to be below that of photovoltaic solar, which typically runs more more than $4 per watt.