RayGen lands new funding to speed up rollout of ‘solar hydro’ tech


RayGen said global oilfield services giant SLB has invested more than $31 million (USD 20 million) and state government-backed independent investment fund manager Breakthrough Victoria has committed $20 million to support further development of the company’s ‘solar hydro’ technology.

The Victoria-based company said the funds from the Series D capital raise will go towards expanding its solar cell manufacturing capacity with a new facility under construction in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn East, securing the supply chain and increasing automation for rapid project delivery of its solar and storage technology that combines concentrating PV generation with long-duration electro-thermal energy storage.

Separately, RayGen has signed a strategic deployment agreement with United States-headquartered SLB, formerly Schlumberger, that the Victorian company said will accelerate its path to market, including international expansion beyond Australia.

RayGen Chief Executive Officer Richard Payne said existing investor SLB will provide international sales and engineering support to expand a growing pipeline of projects, manufacturing capacity and vendor network.

“As a world-leader in technology innovation and engineering, SLB will play an integral role in accelerating RayGen’s global impact,” he said. “We’re a Victorian-born company with global ambitions for dispatchable renewable energy generation and advanced manufacturing.”

RayGen’s technology integrates concentrating solar generation with thermal hydro long-duration energy storage. The system includes two water reservoirs, one of which is kept hot and the other cold. The temperature difference is exploited to generate dispatchable electricity via organic rankine cycle (ORC) turbines.

The company last year officially launched its first commercial facility, flicking the switch on a 4 MW solar plant backed by 2.8 MW of long-duration storage at Carwarp in Victoria’s northwest.

RayGen said the facility is the world’s largest operating next-generation thermal hydro long-duration energy storage project, capable of delivering 17 hours of continuous power to the electricity grid.

RayGen CEO Richard Payne

Image: RayGen

Payne said increased deployment of wind and solar resources in electricity grids worldwide is driving the need for long-duration energy storage and RayGen’s technology complements other established solutions, offering a low-cost pathway to a zero-carbon grid.

RayGen has previously revealed it is working with energy major and existing shareholder AGL to develop a solar-plus-thermal storage plant at the former coal-fired Liddell power station site in New South Wales but it is expected South Australia will be where the company’s technology will next be deployed.

RayGen is working with Dutch company Photon Energy, another of its shareholders, on a major project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. The proposed Yadnarie project would have a total solar generation capacity of 200 MW coupled with 24 hours of energy storage capacity.

Photon has indicated it expects to reach a final investment decision on the Yadnarie project later this year.

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