SolarReserve, known for its solar thermal towers with energy storage systems, is looking to the mining industry and foreign markets for growth opportunity.
The company already has major projects in California, Nevada and Colorado. While there is plenty more opportunity domestically, Tom Georgis, vice president of business development for SolarReserve, said there are other countries looking for exactly what SolarReserve has to offer.
“Certainly, we’re looking more globally to other market,” he said.
Among those markets, Chile is at the top of the list. The South American country has a strong mining industry in its northern Atacama Desert. It’s not easy to get power there. The power miners do have in that region is expensive, dirty and unreliable.
“The mining companies need base load power,” Georgis said. “The government there is going to be seeking solar thermal with storage, which is exactly what we do. We’re going to have a tremendous advantage in that market.”
The mining industry could be a fit for SolarReserve in other countries as well, Georgis said.
“In Africa and Australia, they’re trucking in diesel to their remote mining operations,” He said. “And they’re working 24/7. They need a lot of power.”
Diesel generators get very expensive quickly when they’re producing so much electricity. Georgis said there’s a good chance SolarReserve technology, which provides up to eight hours of stored electricity that can be deployed at any time, will be very attractive to some of those mining companies and even the governments in Australia and some African countries.
He said SolarReserve has already been working on projects in South Africa in order to establish a relationship and base there. The initial project uses solar photovoltaic panels rather than SolarReserve’s solar thermal towers. Georgis said they did that because it’s easier to get a PV project financed and approved in that market. And getting established is an important first step in foreign markets.
Suadi Arabia and the Middle East also offers a lot of potential and opportunity for the company, Georgis said.