March 19 (Renewables Now) - The Australian government today said it will provide AUD 3 million (USD 1.7m/EUR 1.6m) to fund a pilot project combining 4 MW of concentrated solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity with thermal storage.
The financing will be provided by the Australian Renewable Agency (ARENA) to Melbourne-based RayGen Resources Pty Ltd so it can conduct a technical and commercial feasibility study of its concentrated PV and thermal storage technology. The so-called PV Ultra technology relies on tower-mounted heliostats and solar PV cells to generate power and heat. The heat by-product is captured and stored in water. The thermal storage technology allows storing energy as a temperature difference between two water reservoirs -- a hot and a cold one.
Using the technology, RayGen aims to build a grid-scale renewable energy plant in Carwarp, northwestern Victoria, which will offer 17 hours of storage capacity. It will collaborate with Australian utility AGL Energy Ltd (ASX:AGL) and GHD in the feasibility studies and subsequent process, including the capital raising and permitting processes.
The first phase of the 4-MW/50-MWh project is estimated at AUD 6 million. Thanks to ARENA’s funding, RayGen will bring the scheme to a shovel-ready state by end-2020, targeting commissioning in 2021. The company claims its technology can be deployed at a smaller scale and at a much lower absolute cost as compared to the combination of traditional solar PV and pumped hydro.
“RayGen’s solution could complement other more traditional forms of storage such as grid-scale batteries and pumped hydro,” said ARENA’s CEO Darren Miller.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.574/EUR 0.532)