RayGen Resources and AGL have broken ground on the first stage of an AUD27m ($20.91m) concentrated solar and thermal storage project called RayGen Power Plant Carwarp in Victoria, Australia.

The plant being built in Carwarp in north-west Victoria will have a capacity of 4MW of solar power generation and a dispatchable storage capacity of 3MW/50MWh, which is equivalent to 17 hours of power.

The RayGen Power Plant Carwarp will use a combination of solar and hydro technology.

The solar hydro power plant, developed by RayGen Resources, concentrates sunlight for electricity generation while simultaneously capturing the heat resulting from the process to provide thermal energy storage.

It features RayGen Resources’ concentrating photovoltaic (PV) solar co-generation tower called PV Ultra. The solar co-generation tower will be combined with the company’s electro-thermal storage technology.

The electro-thermal storage system of RayGen Power Plant Carwarp will have an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine, two insulated water-based thermal storage pits or reservoirs, and industrial chillers.

One of the reservoirs will be maintained at 90º temperature, while the other will be at almost 0º degrees. This difference in temperature will be used for producing dispatchable electricity by using ORC turbines.

AGL interim managing director and CEO Graeme Hunt said: “RayGen’s technology has the potential to provide the same capabilities as other long duration storage technologies at lower cost and with fewer geographical constraints.

“The system is powered by a field of smart, rotational mirrors whose concentrated solar energy is combined with the energy stored across two water reservoirs to create a ‘hot and cold’ solar hydro solution.”

AGL has committed a contribution of AUD5m ($3.87m) towards the construction of the Carwarp concentrated solar and thermal storage project. The Australian energy company will offtake 100% of the plant’s production.

RayGen Resources said that it has secured AUD42m ($32.53m) in a Series C round for advancing its technology. The capital raise includes a private investment of AUD27m ($20.91m) led by AGL, Photon Energy, Chevron, and Schlumberger.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), on behalf of the Australian government, is providing AUD15m ($11.62m) to the Melbourne-based energy technology group.

RayGen Resources CEO Richard Payne said: “AGL provided valuable insights that enhanced our technology offering, and AGL is now supporting deployment with an offtake and investment.

“This innovative collaboration between a ‘home-grown’ Australian technology start-up and Australia’s premier energy company will help pave the way to a lowest cost, secure and decarbonised grid.”

The second stage of the renewable energy storage project is planned in New South Wales at the Liddell power station site. A pre-feasibility study for the Liddell location is currently in progress.