California-based solar developer SolarReserve has opened an office in Perth, Australia, as a prelude to developing large-scale concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic projects in that country. Initially, the effort is focused on opportunities in the off-grid mining sector.
‘In Australia, the best solar resources are commonly found in remote areas where mines operate, presenting the off-grid mining sector with a substantial opportunity to offset the high price of electricity generation in these remote locations with a solar energy alternative," says SolarReserve's CEO Kevin Smith." In Western Australia alone, there are more than 1,000 operating mines – many of which are powered by high-priced diesel fuel."
SolarReserve's CSP technology features an integrated molten salt energy storage system that the company says will enable its solar plants to essentially substitute for conventional fossil fuel-burning power facilities. In the U.S., SolarReserve is currently building the 110 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant located near Tonopah, Nev., that will feature molten salt power tower energy storage capability.