SolarReserve, a developer of utility scale renewable energy solar power plants, recently announced it has closed a $140 million Series B round of funding. The financing was led by Sustainable Development Investments (SDI) (the renewable energy private equity group within Citi Alternative Investments) and Good Energies. Other investors included US Renewables Group (SolarReserve's founding investor) along with PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (CETF), Nimes Capital, LLC and Credit Suisse.
"Our investment in SolarReserve is part of Citi’s continued commitment to address climate change," stated Citi's R. Andrew de Pass, Managing Director and Head of SDI. "The technology backing by United Technologies Corp. and the ability of the system to store energy differentiates SolarReserve from other alternative technologies and has the ability to replace conventional fuel burning power plants."
"SolarReserve possesses the leading utility scale, solar thermal technology as well as a world class development team to bring this technology to the market," stated John Breckenridge, Managing Director for Good Energies. "This additional funding provides SolarReserve with the financial resources to aggressively pursue the expanding market for large scale solar energy projects. Good Energies is excited to bring SolarReserve financial support and access to our global renewable energy network."
SolarReserve said that it will use the funds to further its development of more than 5,000 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale power plants in locations across the globe, each ranging in size from 50MW to 300MW. The company is developing power plants (what it calls "Solar Power Towers") that generate electricity from the sun's heat. The image below outlines the company's technology and approach (click the image to download a larger version):
SolarReserve's plants capture the sun's thermal energy, store the energy in molten salt, and transform the heat into steam-driven turbines that generate electricity. The molten salt is heated by concentrating the sun’s energy via thousands of mirrors onto a central receiver and, according to the company, is so efficient that the energy can be stored for use during times when direct sunlight is unavailable. SolarReserve holds the exclusive worldwide license to molten salt power tower solar technology developed by the Rocketdyne division of Hamilton Sundstrand (a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.).
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