Burbank, Calif., August 9, 2011 – eSolar, a developer of modular, scalable concentrating solar thermal power technology, announced that in addition to its licensing agreement with GE Energy, GE has closed a strategic investment in the company.
As part of the deal Paul Browning, president and CEO of Thermal Products, for GE Energy, will join the eSolar board of directors.
When combined with GE’s recently announced FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant technology, ISCC power plants are capable of delivering fuel efficiencies in excess of 70 percent.
An ISCC power plant features a combined-cycle system including a gas turbine, steam turbine, generators and a heat recovery steam generator, as well as a field of mirrors that focus sunlight on a tower to produce high temperature steam.
During the day, steam generated in the solar field is fed into the water-steam system of the combined-cycle plant, creating extra megawatts of electricity without using any additional natural gas. During the night or during periods of cloud cover, the power plant remains fully dispatchable using natural gas.
Solar thermal energy becomes much less expensive when integrated with a combined cycle power plant because the steam turbine, generator and other expensive components are already available and can be used for the solar thermal integration.
Through a licensing agreement, GE was granted exclusive worldwide rights to eSolar’s modular technology for ISCC, excluding China and India. Together the two companies are targeting Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the United States, and are working on a 530 MW project in Turkey with Turkish investor and power project developer MetCap Energy, which will feature 50 MW of eSolar concentrated solar thermal tower technology integrated with GE’s new FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant. eSolar is working to evaluate additional projects which the company expects to announce in the near future.