Weekly Intelligence Brief August 25 – September 1

This week’s CSP Today news brief includes the following companies and organisations: Schott Solar CSP; ARENA, ACO Investment Group, Burma Ministry of Electric Power, ACS; Reliance Power.

Schott Solar CSP to reorganise its production setup

German company Schott Solar CSP has chosen to reorganise its production setup for solar receivers. It has been decided that production in Mitterteich will terminate as of now.

This repositioning will affect about 50 employees in Mitterteich, where the focus will shift to the glass-metal sealings –one of the key components of the receiver. The company is looking at utilising the service of employees in other business areas.
The receiver will continue to be manufactured in Aznalcóllar, close to Sevilla, Spain. The research and development work for solar receivers, as well as pilot production in Mitterteich, will remain in operation.

Dr. Nikolaus Benz, managing director of SCHOTT Solar CSP, highlighted that demand from markets like India, South Africa, the MENA-region, as well as China has not reached a level where it could match the void created by relatively mature markets like the U. S. and Spain.

Support for R&D projects in solar research in Australia

The Australian government has announced A$21.5 million funding for a spate of R&D projects in the solar research arena.

The development was confirmed during an event held by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) at the University of New South Wales.

In all, there are 12 R&D projects chosen from a total of 110 applications that were received by the agency. This solar research will add to ARENA’s existing portfolio of solar projects. Projects feature several technologies, including solar thermal power, and the objective is to either curtail the cost or increase the efficiency of solar power.

The agency mentioned that The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) intends to capitalise on its solar thermal expertise to work out a heliostat mirror and control system.

This system would pave way for efficient deployment of central-tower solar thermal installations.

ACS gears up for sale of its renewable energy assets

Spanish group ACS has entrusted Société Générale and Mediobanca with the task of handing the sale of over 1GW of renewables generation capacity, according to a report filed by the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial.com

As per the information available, the group might go ahead with the sale of assets to a single investor or sell 51% through an IPO.

ACS has been mulling over this initiative for four years or so, but the regulatory changes did not prove to be favourable for it to complete the sale. But the new renewable energy regulation in Spain is expected to pave way for the sale of renewable assets. 

Reliance CSP plants’ future remains uncertain

Reliance Power has not shared any details pertaining to the future plans for one of its biggest projects post Areva’s recent decision to do away with the solar thermal business.

“With ‘no comments’ from Reliance Power, the fate of the $415-million project — touted to be Asia’s biggest solar thermal plant — is unclear,” mentioned Chennai-based financial daily The Hindu Business Line.

Areva’s decision to discontinue its entire CSP operation has raised concerns over the future of Reliance Power’s key project in India.

As highlighted by CSP Today in its recent report, the development has emerged as a major setback for a CSP plant in Rajasthan. The group had achieved the first steam production at its 125 MW CSP plant by the end of 2013.