Australian solar thermal company to list in New York following deal with world’s largest oil contractor


In a monster month for Australia-based Vast Solar, the company will now go public through a partnership with Nabors Energy Transition Corp, a “blank-check company”affiliated with Nabors Industries.

The valuation of the combined company is expected to land in the range of $440 million to $840 million (USD 305 million – 586 million). 

The proposed deal would provide funds for Vast Solar to move forward with its Australian concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) projects, and to deploy the technology overseas.

Vast Solar has been operating a 1 MW pilot plant at Jemalong since 2018.

Image: Vast Solar

Vast Solar’s CSP technology uses mirrors to concentrate and capture heat from the sun in solar receivers, with high temperature heat transferred via liquid sodium and stored in molten salt. The stored energy can then be used to heat water to create steam to drive a turbine, providing baseload electricity.

Vast Solar just received $65 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to construct a commercial CSP plant north of Port Augusta in South Australia known as VS1. It has also recently been granted roughly $40 million from HyGATE, a collaboration between the Australian and German governments, for its Solar Methanol 1 project.

Under the proposed partnership, Vast Solar will remain headquartered in Australia but will shorten its name to “Vast” as a combined entity.

The move has deliberately sought access to overseas capital with Vast’s CEO Craig Wood telling the Australian Financial Review: “The US capital markets are just deeper than what’s available in Australia, which both now and in the medium to longer term plays into things.”

The outlet reported Vast Solar’s current owner, AGCentral, owned by Johnny Kahlbetzer, will put an additional $21.6 million of new equity into the combined company, as will Nabors.

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