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Solar hydro excitement in north-west Victorian Mallee

The Australian Government announced on Tuesday it would grant $15 million in funding to RayGen Resources Pty Ltd (RayGen) to construct its first of a kind 'solar hydro' power plant in the Mallee of North-Western Victoria.

The demonstration-scale facility will be located in Carwarp, Victoria near Mildura in the federal electorate of Mallee, and will export renewable electricity to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

National Federal Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster, told FlowNews24 on Tuesday morning:

“We all know that renewable (energy) are great when the sun shines, and the wind blows.
“It is a solar-hydro power plant that’s going to be built, comprising four megawatts of solar PV generation and 17 hours of dispatchable storage capacity in North-West Victoria.
“We’ve invested $15 million into this particular project.
“70 new jobs in construction which is brilliant, and then 45 ongoing positions.
“It is just brilliant; I am so excited about this!"

The plant consists of RayGen's proprietary PV Ultra, a concentrating photovoltaic solar co-generation tower, combined with its patented electro-thermal storage.

The electro-thermal storage system consists of an Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbine, industrial chillers and two insulated water-based thermal storage pits or reservoirs, each roughly the size of four Olympic size swimming pools.

RayGen's 'solar hydro' technology offers a renewable, modular and scalable solution to the emerging need for longer duration storage that has been identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator in its Integrated System Plan.

The federal government's Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) CEO, Darren Miller, said in a statement:

"RayGen's technology has many benefits for the energy market as we continue the energy system transformation being driven by renewable (energy).
"ARENA has been a strong supporter of RayGen for many years now and we are really pleased to be supporting an Australian company at the cutting edge of renewable energy innovation."

ARENA previously supported RayGen with a total of $8.67 million in funding to develop its PV Ultra technology.