Solar Trust of America, LLC Targets Southwestern U.S. for Development and Construction of Utility-Size Solar Thermal Power Plants
CLEVELAND & BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solar Trust of America, LLC, a newly formed integrated industrial solar solutions company, today announced that it has entered into contractual arrangements with its business partners Solar Millennium and MAN Ferrostaal to provide the U.S. market with a complete turnkey solution in connection with the development, construction and financing of large-scale concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in the southwestern region of the United States.
The services offered by Solar Trust of America include Project Development; Plant Layout Design; Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC); Supply Chain Management; Plant Operations and Management; ready access to large-scale project financing; and equity participation. Solar Trust of America also announced that it has entered into an agreement to use Solar Millennium AG’s proven, in-house Flagsol parabolic trough technology exclusively in North America.
“We believe that we are the only CSP company providing a completely integrated solar solution using proven technology for utility size plants currently generating electricity for the grid,” said Uwe T. Schmidt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Solar Trust of America. “With thousands of fully-funded and completed industrial projects in the combined portfolios of our business partners, we expect to become the industry leader in the development and construction of these solar thermal power plants in the U.S.”
The company’s business partners include Solar Millennium AG, an international project and technology developer and supplier of parabolic trough collector technology used in powering solar thermal power plants; and MAN Ferrostaal Incorporated, a U.S. subsidiary of MAN Ferrostaal AG, a worldwide provider of industrial services and plant construction and engineering. As part of the launch of its business, Solar Trust announced that Solar Millennium, LLC, of Berkeley, California, a leading U.S. developer of solar thermal power plant technology, has joined the Solar Trust family as a wholly-owned subsidiary and will serve as the company’s solar thermal power plant development arm. Solar Millennium and MAN Ferrostaal are both contributing assets and technical expertise to Solar Trust of America and will be shareholders in the new company.
Utilizing the Project Development and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) experience of its business partners and its exclusive arrangement for Flagsol’s parabolic trough technology and services in North America, Solar Trust is ideally positioned to build on the success of Solar Millennium, LLC’s June 17, 2009 announcement of the execution of power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison (SCE). The agreements, which are subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission, call for the development of two, 242 megawatt (MW) power plants, with the option to expand to include a third 242 megawatt plant, for a total of up to 726 megawatts of capacity, and provide for the purchase of the output by SCE over a 20-year period. These solar thermal power plants are expected to begin operation between 2013 and 2014.
Solar Millennium AG is the company responsible for the development of the Andasol 1, 2 and 3 solar thermal power plants constructed in Spain. Andasol 1 and 2, Europe’s first commercially operating parabolic trough power plants, are currently supplying electricity to consumers and businesses in Andalusia, Spain with environmentally friendly power that are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 150,000 tons per year, per plant compared to modern coal-fired power plants. Two of these plants feature large-scale thermal storage technology capable of extending power production for up to 7.5 hours per day after the sun sets. MAN Ferrostaal AG is leading the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) for Andasol 3, which is currently under construction in Andalusia and scheduled to be connected to the local grid in 2011.
“America’s energy future is at a critical crossroad,” said Josef Eichhammer, President and Chief Operating Officer of Solar Trust of America. “The challenge is to reduce our carbon footprint and energy dependency from imported fuel. Solar thermal energy is strategically critical to ensuring a sustainable energy future for America. The sun radiates enough energy in 40 minutes to supply the world’s entire power needs for a year, we simply have to harness it. We are working diligently with the region’s utilities to meet their future demand for renewable energy with proven parabolic trough solar power plants and energy storage solutions. With our new positioning we will leverage the experience of Solar Millennium AG in Spain and strengthen our efforts to achieve our growth objectives in the U.S.”
The company currently has multiple solar thermal power plants in advanced stages of development in the southwestern region of the United States. Each plant, if constructed, will feature highly efficient, environmentally friendly solar thermal power plants generating approximately 250 megawatts of electricity each, or enough energy from each plant to power 80,000 homes for a year.
Solar Trust embraces U.S. federal and state government policies and initiatives to provide significant infrastructure investments, job creation and supplier opportunities in renewable energy through such programs as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program for renewable energy projects.
Eichhammer said new government legislation will stimulate significant development of cost-efficient solar power plants across America’s Sunbelt region. “Solar energy provides comparatively low long-term generation costs with no additional fuel costs such as coal, oil, gas or uranium. As a result, solar thermal plants deliver clean, carbon-free power and an effective hedge against rising energy costs. Our goal is to secure 20 percent of the solar thermal energy market and set the benchmark for facilities of this size and capacity. We intend to be at the forefront in powering America’s future.”
Uwe Schmidt emphasized that the development, engineering, local procurement and construction of the utility-size thermal solar power plants should provide an economic boost to the region. “Each of these plants will include investments of more than $1 billion. Each plant is expected to directly employ more than 800 skilled workers during the initial construction phase and create approximately 100 permanent jobs for operations, maintenance and management employees. And, each plant is expected to indirectly create thousands of additional jobs as Solar Trust of America procures materials, goods and services for each facility in the U.S. We expect to generate sustainable revenue throughout the value chain by developing, constructing and operating the plants, while helping the region meet its renewable energy goals and stimulating its economies.”
Proven, Bankable Solar Thermal Technology
The solar thermal energy technology employed by Solar Trust of America has been technically viable for more than a quarter century. Today, there are dozens of solar thermal power plants currently in development, under construction or in operation worldwide using similar technology. A solar thermal power plant features large-scale, line-focusing parabolic trough collectors arranged in long rows of “farm-like” arrays that concentrate, capture and transfer the sun’s heat energy and feeds that energy into a steam-driven turbine that generates electricity. Members of our engineering team were instrumental in the development and construction of parabolic trough power plants which have been in continuous commercial operation and successfully feeding “peak load” power to the California grid for more than 25 years.
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