Areva Solar

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Subsidiary of Areva
Industry Solar energy
Predecessor Ausra Inc.
Founded 2007 (2007) as Ausra Inc.
Founder Dr. David Mills, Prof. Graham Morrison, Peter Le Lievre
Headquarters Mountain View, California, United States
Key people
Sam Shakir (CEO)
Products CSP technology
Services Design, manufacture and installation of solar steam generators
Number of employees
Parent Areva

Areva Solar was part of the renewable energies portfolio of the French nuclear group Areva, headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in the United States and Australia.[1] It designed, manufactured and installed solar steam generators for electric power production and industrial steam uses.[2] Before 2010, the company existed as Ausra Inc. In August 2014, AREVA announced it was shuttering AREVA Solar.[3]


Ausra was formed as Solar Heat and Power Pty Ltd in 2002 in Sydney, Australia.[4] The company was co-founded by Dr. David Mills, Professor Graham Morrison and Peter Le Lievre.[5] Solar Heat and Power Pty Ltd constructed a 1MW pilot solar plant at Liddell Power Station in 2005 and then began work on a 5MW extension to that project in 2006.[6] The project was renamed the "John Marcheff Solar Project" by its owner, Macquarie Generation.[7]

Solar Heat and Power relocated to the United States in 2007 and was renamed as Ausra.[8] The company began operation of its 130,000-square-foot (12,000 m2) solar thermal power systems plant in Las Vegas in July 2008. The facility was the first comprehensive solar thermal manufacturing plant in the United States.[9][10]

In the fallout of the 2008–09 recession, Ausra laid off 10% of its workers and redirected its efforts toward making solar equipment for other companies rather than building its own power plants.[11] In October 2008, Ausra launched the 5 MW Kimberlina Solar Thermal Energy Plant in Bakersfield, California. In November 2009 the company canceled its plans to build the 177 MW Carrizo Energy Solar Farm in California.

In November 2009, Ausra announced that it was seeking to sell itself, because "it will not be able to deploy its capital-intensive solar technology on a large scale without the backing of major company."[12]

In February 2010, the Areva bought Ausra, and renamed it Areva Solar.[13]

In August 2014, Areva exits the Solar industry.[14] The future of its solar branch is still unclear.


Areva Solar is one of four units in Areva's renewable energies business group. Sam Shakir is CEO of Areva Solar.[15] He succeeded Bill Gallo former CEO of AREVA Federal Services in 2012. Gallo replaced Dr. Robert Fishman and Peter Le Lievre, former CEO's of Ausra Inc., in February 2011.[16] AREVA Solar is headquartered in Mountain View, California.


Areva Solar specializes in concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, which uses lenses and mirrors to direct a large area of sunlight onto a small surface.[17] In particular, the group employs Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology, a type of CSP in which flat moving reflectors follow the path of the sun and reflect its radiation to the fixed pipe receivers above.[18] Water flows through the receivers, generating saturated and superheated solar steam, which in turn generates electricity.[19]

CLFR differs from other forms of CSP because the mirrors are flat rather than parabolic, and they turn on a single axis, following the sun. They are cheaper to produce than parabolic mirrors, and they are smaller, allowing more reflectors to be installed in less space.[20]


Areva Solar has a number of projects aimed to advance research and development activities in the renewable energy sector. Kimberlina solar plant in Bakersfield, California, began operation in October 2008. It was the first new CSP facility in California in nearly 20 years. The Kimberlina plant has a 5-MW capacity—enough power for 3,500 homes in central California.[21] It is the first CLFR plant to be built in North America.[22]

Areva Solar is conducting a 44-MW solar thermal addition with CS Energy to the existing 750-MW Kogan Creek Power Station in Queensland, Australia. This station will be able to produce more electricity with the same amount of coal when it is complete in 2013. The project, subsidized by the Australian government, is estimated to cost A$104.7 million. It will be the world's largest solar integration with a coal-fired plant, and it will reduce the facility's greenhouse gas emissions by 35,600 metric tons annually.[23]


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  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2012-04-13. 
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  9. ^ Ausra Opens US Solar Thermal Factory, 1 July 2008
  10. ^ Areva Boosts Solar Supersteam Parameters in Bakersfield, Charles W. Thurston, 16 June 2010
  11. ^ Kanellos, Michael (January 29, 2009). "Ausra Update: Layoffs Confirmed and a Change of Business Plans". Green Light. Greentech Media. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  12. ^ Woody, Todd (November 17, 2009). "Ausra Solar Looking for a Buyer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  13. ^ Wald, Matthew L. (February 8, 2010). "Nuclear Power Giant Buys Solar Firm". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  14. ^ "AREVA Exits CSP after net loss in first half 2014". CSP Today. August 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
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  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-13. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-13. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
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  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
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