Silex subsidiary signs California solar deal

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: ASX-listed solar energy research and development company Silex Systems announced its wholly-owned subsidiary Solar Systems has secured a site in Beaumont, California for the construction of its first Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) solar power demonstration facility in the United States of America.

According to Silex the grid-connected facility of up to one megawatt (MW) capacity will put the operational performance of Solar Systems’ proprietary ‘Dense Array’ CPV solar conversion system on show as the company anticipates near-term deployment of the technology in the US solar market.

“Securing the Beaumont site is another significant step forward in the commercialisation of Solar Systems’ unique ‘Dense Array’ CPV technology,” Silex Systems chief executive officer Dr Michael Goldsworthy said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The Beaumont facility will allow potential US customers to observe and measure the performance of the ‘Dense Array’ CPV system first hand.

“We are excited about the commercial potential of this technology in the US market, which is expected to grow strongly over the next decade and beyond.”


Beaumont CPV Demonstration Facility Site (with grid connection point in foreground). Source: Company announcement

The 10 acre site is located approximately 130 kilometres east of Los Angeles in Riverside County and only 30 minutes’ drive from Palm Springs airport.

Solar Systems will lease the property from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, the largest water utility in the US.

The lease is subject to the successful completion of a geo-technical survey and environmental assessment.

The costs of the facility will be primarily funded internally but Silex said it expects Solar Systems to be eligible for the US Federal Government’s Renewables Income Tax Credit Scheme, which could account for up to 30 per cent of the capital costs.

Construction of the facility, subject to permitting activities, is planned for completion by mid-2013 (CY), which will be grid connected.

Silex said a small revenue stream could be generated through a Power Purchase Agreement Solar Systems will soon be negotiating with the local power utility Southern California Edison.