Subject to approval by the responsible authorities, Siemens has taken a majority stake in solar receiver manufacturer Solel Solar Systems Ltd for €284 million. It is anticipated that the deal will be closed before the end of this calendar year
Solel is a successful company in the future-oriented solar power sector, with decades of experience in the development and manufacture of solar field equipment and the planning and construction of solar fields. Since 2006, Solel has also been present on the Spanish market, supplying key components for 15 solar thermal power plants with a combined capacity of 750 megawatts. In addition, the company is also active on the important U.S. market. It has a workforce of over 500 and is one of the world’s two leading suppliers of solar receivers, which are key components of so-called parabolic trough power plants. The high-growth company is also a leader in the planning and construction of solar fields.
“Siemens and Solel are a perfect match,” said René Umlauft, CEO of Siemens’ Renewable Energy Division. “We are the market leader in steam turbines for solar thermal power plants and, with the power block, we can offer a key part for solar power plants – the part that is responsible for power generation. Solel boasts high-efficiency receiver technology and comprehensive expertise in the engineering and construction of solar fields. In the future, we’ll be able to offer the key components for the construction of parabolic trough power plants from a single source and to further enhance the efficiency of these plants.”
Until 2020, the market for solar thermal power plants will show annual double-digit growth rates and attain a volume of over €20 billion. In the future, the primary focal growth regions will be the US, South Africa, Australia, Spain, India, North Africa and the Middle East.
“After the rapid and highly successful expansion of our wind power business, we now want to continue this success story in the solar sector. With the acquisition of Solel, Siemens can now strengthen its market position in the promising business of solar thermal power plants. We can thus further expand our extensive Environmental Portfolio – and, as already announced, we will become even greener,” said Siemens President and CEO Peter Löscher.
Parabolic trough power plants are the solar-based power generation technology with the best track record of all utility-scale solar technologies. They are particularly suitable for regions with high levels of direct insolation. The principle is simple: curved sun-tracking mirrors capture the sunlight and concentrate it on the solar receiver. A heat transfer medium, which is heated by the concentrated solar radiation, flows through the solar receiver. In a heat exchanger, steam is then generated for a steam turbine, which drives a generator, which in turn generates electricity. Together with the electrical and instrumentation and control equipment and the cooling systems, these components form the power block of a solar power plant.
“Together, we will utilize our know-how in these core competencies to further optimise the water/steam cycle and to further boost the efficiency of solar thermal power plants. Thus we can accelerate the use of this clean technology,” said Avi Brenmiller, CEO of Solel Solar Systems. “Combined with Siemens’ financial strength and its global sales and marketing activities, this will open up promising prospects for our business and hence also for all of Solel’s employees.”
Products and solutions for solar thermal power plants are part of the Siemens Environmental Portfolio, with which the company posted revenue of nearly €19 billion in fiscal 2008 – about a quarter of Siemens’ total sales.