Solar Projects Hold Big Promise for Steel

From American Metal Market

American Metal Market (AMM), a metals industry publication, reported on August 19 that "solar projects hold big promise for steel."   Solar Trust of America, LLC, a newly formed integrated industrial solar solutions company,  announced this week that it has entered into contractual arrangements with its business partners Solar Millennium and MAN Ferrostaal to provide the U.S. market with a complete turnkey solution in connection with the development, construction and financing of large-scale concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in the southwestern region of the United States. AMM reported that Solar Trust plans to build at least 11 utility-size solar thermal plants, and that the steel industry could be tapped with an estimated $300 million in steel and related projects per plant.

The company’s business partners include Solar Millennium AG, an international project and technology developer and supplier of parabolic trough collector technology used in powering solar thermal power plants; and MAN Ferrostaal Incorporated, a U.S. subsidiary of MAN Ferrostaal AG, a worldwide provider of industrial services and plant construction and engineering. As part of the launch of its business, Solar Trust announced that Solar Millennium, LLC, of Berkeley, California, a leading U.S. developer of solar thermal power plant technology, has joined the Solar Trust family as a wholly-owned subsidiary and will serve as the company’s solar thermal power plant development arm. Solar Millennium and MAN Ferrostaal are both contributing assets and technical expertise to Solar Trust of America and will be shareholders in the new company.

AMM reported:  "One-third of our engineering, procurement and construction costs for these plants is steel.  We are looking at one of these plants to be at around $1.2 billion and the other two to be around $3 billion (combined)," said Uwe T. Schmidt, chairman and chief executive officer of Solar Trust.

In the broad scheme of things, Josef Eichhammer, president and chief operating officer, summed solar power's strength well saying "America's energy future is at a critical crossroad.  The challenge is to reduce our carbon footprint and energy dependency from imported fuel.  Solar thermal energy is strategically critical to ensuring a sustainable energy future for America."

Uwe also commented "When you look at the U.S., it is a country with the strongest appetite for energy.  The environmental quotas that are being established increase the emphasis for renewable energy.  In California alone, the regulations are that by 2020 one-third of all energy has to be provided by renewables.  We see this as a very important market, considering projected population growth."
(Source:  American Metal Market,"Solar Projects Hold Big Promise for Steel," by Scott Robertson, August 19, 2009)