Scaling up concentrated solar PV technology in Victoria
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $4.8 million in support for Victorian company RayGen to continue commercialisation of RayGen’s solar power system PV Ultra, including construction of a 0.5MW concentrated solar PV demonstration project of the Australian developed technology.
The site near Newbridge near Bendigo in Victoria will showcase the grid?connected concentrated solar PV system which consists of two linked 250kW fields that will be used to power a local mushroom farm.
Concentrated solar PV involves converting concentrated light directly into electricity.
RayGen’s solar collector consists of a field of wireless mirrors that track the sun, delivering a concentrated light beam to the array of high efficiency solar PV modules in a tower?mounted receiver.
RayGen’s technology requires just 4 square metres of photovoltaic material and 2500 meters of mirrors per megawatt, compared to 5000 square metres of photovoltaic material needed for traditional silicon PV per megawatt.
ARENA’s funding will go towards the 0.5 MW expansion of the Newbridge pilot site. A scaleable manufacturing plant will also be upgraded to support deployment of RayGen’s technology in two initial projects in China with a combined 11 MW capacity.
The Newbridge demonstration will allow RayGen to collect performance data, including efficiency, power and energy to provide ‘bankable data’ required to support the further take up of concentrated solar PV by suppliers, investors and customers.
Founded in 2010, RayGen has a manufacturing line in Blackburn, Melbourne and previously set the world record for solar efficiency with the UNSW in 2014.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the demonstration was an important step for the technology in Australia.
“This is an exciting opportunity for ARENA to invest in RayGen, an Australian?based solar technology business, that is really leading the world in concentrated solar PV and making it commercially viable, Mr Frischknecht said.
“ARENA is committed to helping Australian companies create new renewable energy technology and export it to the world which RayGen is doing in China.”
RayGen founder Dr John Lasich said ARENA’s funding will allow RayGen plans to bring its concentrated solar PV technology, PV Ultra, to the marketplace.
“We’re excited to be manufacturing concentrated solar PV in Australia and deploying this technology into the Australian and global marketplace at precisely the time where there is huge demand for large scale solar power.
“With proven high efficiency and ultra?low manufacturing cost, we see this as having huge potential, as we are on track to delivering the lowest cost solar power, ” said Dr Lasich.
RayGen Executive Chairman David Sutton said this support would help to create local jobs in Victoria.
“Automated manufacture of our small but ultra?powerful PV module underpins a capital light business model which sidesteps the normal constraints of high capital and overhead costs. This will create local high?tech jobs while producing a competitive product for export,” he said