Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath
Award-winning Australian solar technology start-up RayGen Resources is one step closer to building a $5 million manufacturing plant in its home town of Melbourne after securing $2.5 million in funding for the project from its Chinese joint venture partner, JuYe Solar.
The proposed high volume, repeatable manufacturing line facility – completion of which is subject to a further $2.5m in funding – would expand the company’s existing operations in Victoria, boosting production of RayGen’s concentrating solar PV (CSPV) technology to as much as 100MW a year at full capacity.
Completion of the new facility is also expected to create more than 200 jobs in engineering, research and development, high-tech manufacturing and head office roles.
The deal, sealed in Beijing on Tuesday at a ceremony attended by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, was announced alongside the news that RayGen’s China demonstration CSPV plant had achieved first power production – further proving the reliability and efficiency of its technology.
RayGen – which unveiled its $3.6 million, 200kW pilot CSPV tower plant in the town of Newbridge in March, claims to be the first in the world to combine high efficiency solar cells with low-cost heliostat collector systems.
In the past, the company has also suggested its technology could be the world’s cheapest – provided the right policy support in Australia – and could lead to exports of $1 billion.
With a sunlight-to-electricity conversion rate of 40.4 per cent, RayGen holds the PV system efficiency world record in collaboration with the University of New South Wales.
The Beijing signing ceremony was also attended by executives from state-owned renewables giant China Three Gorges, to which RayGen is contracted to supply a minimum of 500MW of capacity to be built using its Australian-made CSPV technology.
RayGen Chairman and CEO, Robert Cart said in a statement on Tuesday that support from the Victorian Government played an important role in helping the company to forge commercial opportunities for its utility-scale solar power solution.
“The gains we’ve made over the past few years, with funding support from the Victorian Government and agencies like ARENA, demonstrate that Australia can and is, finding significant and lucrative markets for leading-edge technology innovation” he said.
“The potential is enormous and we must be able to deploy quickly to serve the needs of our partners and investors”, he said. “With the capital injection from China, we’re confident we can secure the remaining funds necessary to bring this plant online next year.”
In 2011, RayGen received Victorian Government funding of $1 million awarded under the Sustainable Energy Pilot Demonstration program.
Reprinted with permission.
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