Australian solar thermal power company, Vast Solar, has commenced construction of a pilot 1.1 megawatt concentrating solar thermal power plant near Forbes, New South Wales

The Jemalong Solar Thermal Station comprises five units, each consisting of a 27 metre tower surrounded by 700 heliostats. It includes three hours thermal storage that will enable the plant to generate electricity day or night on demand.

The plant is expected to be operating to supply electricity into the National Energy Market by the end of the year and will be the only standalone solar thermal power plant with thermal energy storage generating power to the grid in Australia.

The $10 million project is 50% funded by private investment with the other $5 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Vast Solar’s chief executive Andrew Want said that “Our market is global, but we’ve developed all our technology locally. This is precisely what Australia should be doing – investing in new businesses, new employment and new industries for the future, to compete in global markets.”