ABB agrees to buy 35 per cent stake in Novatec Solar

ABB has agreed to buy a 35 per cent stake in Novatec Solar, a Karlsruhe-based company that builds concentrated solar-power systems.

The investment includes an option through which ABB could acquire 100 per cent of the company and an agreement to co-operate on future solar-power plant projects.

Novatec Solar has developed a solar steam generator that uses flat glass mirrors in place of parabolically curved mirrors. The mirrors reflect solar energy onto a receiver in which water is vaporised. The resulting steam can be directed to a steam turbine for power generation or used for seawater desalination, solar cooling and other industrial heat applications.

Novatec Solar believes that its technology is competitive with rival CSP technologies thanks to its use of flat glass and common steel in the mirror modules that makes them straightforward to assemble and install.

The technology has already been demonstrated at a 1.4MW solar plant that has been connected to the Spanish electricity grid since March 2009.

The company, which has 80 employees, is also currently constructing a 30MW solar power plant in Spain and recently won an order to retrofit a solar field to a 2,000MW coal-fired power plant in Australia.

Both ABB and Novatec Solar agreed not to disclose financial details of the transaction.