AORA Solar (www.aora-solar.com), a leading developer of solar-biogas hybrid power technology, announced it has met with the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (www.mowr.gov.et), to plan the construction of an initial pilot of AORA’s Tulip™ solar-hybrid power plant. The meeting follows the March signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties.
The project is tied to Ethiopia’s Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy, in which the country aims to enhance access to affordable and environmentally friendly renewable energy. The goal is to provide adequate uninterruptible and grid independent power to support the achievement of middle-income status by 2025 while developing a green economy.
"We are transforming our Green Economy Strategy into action and are pleased to partner with AORA to help achieve our vision,” said H.E. Mr. Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy for Ethiopia, in a statement. "AORA’s unique solar-hybrid technology is impressive and well-suited to provide both energy and heat to support local economic development in off-grid rural locations in Ethiopia.”
Construction of the first pilot plant is expected to begin by mid-2015. Following the trial, the Ministry intends to expand deployment of AORA installations for rural economic development to off-grid communities in selected areas of the country. The AORA Tulip technology requires less land per kWh to generate usable power and heat than other systems. Each Tulip station is small and modular, producing 100kW of electricity in addition to 170kW of heat, while occupying less than 3,500 square meters (0.86 acres).
AORA’s technology runs not only on solar radiation, but also on almost any gaseous or liquid fuel, including biogas, biodiesel and natural gas. This enables a variety of operational modes – from solar-only mode, where electricity is supplied from ample sunlight, to hybrid-mode, where fuel helps generate full power when sunlight is insufficient, to fuel-only mode during night hours or heavily overcast periods. This guarantees an uninterrupted and stable power supply 24 hours a day in all weather conditions.
"We are pleased to partner with the Ministry and look forward to bringing our technology to Ethiopia to provide the population with affordable access to power,” said Zev Rosenzweig, CEO of AORA, in a statement. "Such access will have significant social and economic impact on off-grid communities, helping to provide power to schools and medical facilities, refrigeration for food processing and post-harvest storage, groundwater pumping and much more.
Having developed the only functioning solar-hybrid system in the world capable of 24/7 energy production, AORA now has several operational Tulip™ field installations and more projects scheduled.
AORA’s unique modular distributed solar thermal (DST) technology is configured in compact base units (100kWe each) that are connectable, offering scalable utility-grade power for both on-grid and stand alone applications. Additionally, AORA’s technology allows developers to commission and finance solar fields in phases, offering the added benefit of quick entry into the market. The modularity of the system enables a constant supply of electricity, even while individual units are undergoing repairs or routine maintenance.
The Tulip™ hybrid system is capable of working around the clock, even at night and in heavy cloud coverage, using alternative fuels to continue powering the micro turbine. Quick response heat augmentation by fuel burners provides constant heat input to the turbine, maintaining grid stability by supplying solar power or by slowly minimizing the power generated by the turbine.