Silex Systems has signed a deal with an Arabian prince to build a $1MW demonstratioin plant of its unique concentrated solar PV technology at a luxurious equestrian centre and resort in Saudi Arabia.
The deal is being hailed by Silex as a significant event, enabling it to demonstrate its technology into a deep-pocketed market that has huge ambitions for the deployment of solar power in coming decades..
Saudi Arabia recently announced a $110 billion plan to build 41,000MW of solar power over the next two decades, so it could free up more oil for export.
Silex Systems, which is opening a pilot facility at Bridgewater in Victoria this week, ahead of a 1.5MW demonstration plant in Mildura, is also building a demonstration plant in California.
CEO Dr Michael Goldsworthy says this means that it will have exposure in the world’s two biggest markets for solar technology.
“These will be the marketing platforms going forward,” Goldsworthy told RenewEconomy. “This gives us a foothold in the Middle East.
The Nofa resort, located some 90kms from the capital Riyadh, is owned by Prince Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Kabeer, right next to the country’s main highway linking Jeddah and Mecca in the west to Dammam in the east. The resort currently relies on a 14MW diesel plant.
Goldsworthy said the prince liked the concept and the look of the plant. “It’s a fantastic location on the No 1 highway. It will get a bit of exposure and bit of a reputation. It will probably look pretty smart.
The facility will consist of 28 units of the commercial CS500 CPV Dish System product, will be used to offset existing diesel generator capacity at the Nofa resort.
“With several governments in the region laying out plans for a massive expansion in solar power generating capacity (including Saudi Arabia), we are very excited about the commercial potential of this technology in the Middle Eastern market,” Goldsworthy said.
The construction of the facility will be funded in roughly equal proportions by Solar Systems and Nofa. The plant construction is expected to be completed around the end of2012, subject to finalisation of import customs arrangements and completion of project planning and design activities over the next few months.