Siemens Energy is increasing its stake in the solar thermal specialist Archimede Solar Energy Srl from 28 to 45 percent effective 1 May, 2010. The purchase price of the shares has not been disclosed. Archimede is a joint venture between Angelantoni Industries Spa and Siemens. The objective of the investment is first to accelerate the setup of solar receiver production in Massa Martana, Umbria, and second to work out the company’s strategy to expand its portfolio in the growth market for solar thermal energy. Siemens has for some years been supplying key components for solar thermal power plants in the form of steam turbines, electrical and I&C systems and cooling systems. With the highly promising molten salt receiver technology from Archimede Solar, and the thermal-oil-based receiver technology from its acquisition of Solel Solar Systems, Siemens can now supply of a complete range of products for the thermal solar industry.

Starting in early 2011, the plant will have an annual production capacity of approximately 75 000 solar receivers. In a second step the plant’s capacity is to be increased to 140 000 per year.

“With the increase of our shares in Archimede we are further strengthening our co-operation with Angelantoni Industries,” said René Umlauft, CEO of the Siemens’ Renewable Energy Division. “Siemens already has the most comprehensive portfolio in the promising concentrated solar power business. We can provide about 70 percent of the components of a solar thermal power plant from a single source. If required, we can even supply complete solutions. The solar receivers of Archimede Solar Energy use molten salt as the heat transfer medium. This is a very promising technological option for solar thermal power plants and an ideal addition to our existing portfolio.”

A first commercial plant is currently under construction in Sicily. The Priolo Gargallo project will use 1500 solar receivers with molten salt as the heat transfer medium and is expected to go perational in summer 2010. The use of molten salt in the receivers can significantly increase the efficiency of solar thermal power plants.