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Siemens increases Archimede Solar Energy stake

Siemens Energy is increasing its stake in the concentrating solar power (CSP) specialist Archimede Solar Energy Srl from 28% to 45%.

The two companies did not disclose the purchase price of the shares.

Archimede is a CSP joint venture (JV) between Angelantoni Industries Spa and Siemens. The objective of the investment is to accelerate the setup of CSP receiver production in Massa Martana, Umbria, Italy.

Starting in early 2011, the CSP plant will have an annual production capacity of approximately 75,000 solar receivers. In a second step the CSP plant’s capacity is to be increased to 140,000 per year.

Molten salt

Archimede uses molten salts as its heat transfer medium, which can operate at higher temperatures than oil increasing the efficiency of a CSP plant. It can also be used directly in storage.

René Umlauft, CEO of the Siemens' Renewable Energy Division, says: “Siemens already has the most comprehensive portfolio in the promising concentrated solar power business. We can provide about 70% of the components of a solar thermal power plant from a single source. If required, we can even supply complete solutions.

Commercial CSP plant

A first commercial CSP plant is currently under construction in Sicily. The Priolo Gargallo project will use 1500 solar receivers with molten salt as the heat transfer medium and is expected to go operational in summer 2010. The use of molten salt in the CSP receivers can significantly increase the efficiency of solar thermal power plants, and it can be used directly as storage.

Siemens estimates that the solar thermal power plant market will experience double digit annual growth up to 2015, reaching a volume of more than €10billion.

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