Rioglass Solar has signed an agreement with Siemens to acquire its receiver technology and related manufacturing assets in the area of concentrating solar power (CSP).
Abengoa will incorporate Siemens’ heat collector elements into its portfolio. Rioglass Solar, founded in 2007, provides mirrors for CSP (concentrating solar power) plants, either parabolic trough, tower or Fresnel, as well as for concentrated photovoltaic (CPV). The company has two factories, in Spain and Arizona, US.
Rioglass Solar has signed an agreement with Siemens to acquire its receiver technology and related manufacturing assets in the area of concentrated solar power (CSP) for an undisclosed sum, buyout firm Vorndran Mannheims Capital (VMCap) said.
In contrast to the more common technology of photovoltaics (PV) – where solar panels are used to turn sunlight into electricity – CSP uses mirrors to harness the sun’s rays to produce steam and drive turbines to produce electricity.
Receivers are a key component in CSP systems which turn sunlight into heat and must withstand temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius.
"CSP is a market where you cater to utilities," said Helmut Vorndran, co-founder of VMCap, which owns most of Rioglass Laminar, a vehicle that holds 50 percent minus one share in Rioglass Solar.
"We think that the war that has taken place in the PV industry will not break out in the CSP sector due to structural reasons," he said.
The CSP sector is much smaller than PV, where fierce competition from Asian peers had driven down equipment prices, leading to a wave of insolvencies, predominantly in Germany, the world’s largest solar market.
Siemens put solar thermal power plant maker Solel and its photovoltaics unit up for sale about a year ago, pulling the plug after accumulating losses of around 1 billion euros ($1.33 billion).
In June, Siemens said it was shutting down Solel, which makes components used in solar-thermal power stations, having failed to find a buyer. It had by then completely written down the 2009 purchase price of $418 million.
"This acquisition is an unique opportunity for Rioglass Solar to diversify its portfolio and strengthen its presence in the CSP market with a strong offer,” said Jose Villanueva, CEO of Rioglass Solar. “This step underscores our commitment with this industry. We’ll help our customers to face challenges in the new horizon of the renewable energy sector."