Solar Millennium enters agreement with Ferrostaal over 50 MW solar thermal project


Like its sister projects Andasol 1, 2 and 3 in the province of Andalusia, Solar Millennium explained that Ibersol will feature large thermal storage facilities, meaning that the operating hours and the amount of electricity produced can be "nearly doubled" over those of a solar power plant without storage. The power plant is essentially identical to Andasol 3, said the company, which is currently under construction in Andalusia. It added that Ibersol will cover an area of around two square kilometers and feature collectors with a total length of 90 kilometers, as well as collector space of about half a million square meters.

Together with Andasol 3, the Spanish government granted the project pre-registration at the end of last year, thereby ensuring it will receive the feed-in tariffs for solar-thermal electricity generation.

When completed, it will be the fourth power plant project developed by Solar Millennium in southern Spain. The company said it has prepared the shareholder structure of the project for the involvement of additional institutional investors. To this end, it said it has repurchased 25 percent of the Ibersol project stakes from the holding company Cross Capital AG, Zug (Switzerland). Cross Capital had acquired these stakes indirectly from Solar Millennium last October. According to Cross Capital, this sale provides the holding company with liquidity to be able to invest into planned solar-thermal power plants in the U.S.

Solar Millennium explained that it had taken this step in order to allow institutional investors to enter into the Ibersol project pursuant to the example set by the Andasol 3 solar power plant project (Stadtwerke München (Munich City Utility), RheinEnergie and RWE Innogy are involved in Andasol 3), and to prepare a fund for private investors. According to the Executive Board's assessment, said Solar Millennium, the negotiations over the involvement of institutional investors are going well.

The sale of stakes to Ferrostaal is still subject to approval by German antitrust authorities (Bundeskartellamt).

The company added that its planned projects in the U.S. are also about to be realized. In a statement, it said: “After developing Andasol 1, 2 and 3 in Spain, the world's largest solar power plants thus far with a total collector space in excess of 1.5 million square meters and electricity for around half a million people, the company plans to break its own records in California. The construction of at least one solar power plant with a capacity of 242 MW at the Blythe location is set to begin as early as 2010. Only last Friday, August 20, the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Blythe site was published by the Bureau of Land Management. This represents another major milestone on the way to the final permit of the planned solar power plants. The final permission is expected for October.”

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