GlassPoint Solar

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GlassPoint Solar is a private company founded in 2009 that designs and manufactures solar steam generators that use solar thermal technology to generate steam for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

GlassPoint Solar
Industry Oil & Gas, Solar
Key people
Rod MacGregor (CEO)
Number of employees


7MW Solar EOR project in Amal, Oman
Generating steam for EOR using concentrated solar power

GlassPoint’s enclosed trough technology encloses lightweight mirrors in a standard agricultural greenhouse, concentrating the sun’s energy to heat water and create steam. The steam is then injected in an oil reservoir to aid the extraction of heavy crude.[1] The company’s solar thermal technology uses trough-shaped mirrors, standard piping and a glasshouse structure.[2] By using the enclosed trough architecture, GlassPoint claims it can produce emission-free steam for two to three times less than competing concentrated solar power technologies, such as the power tower and linear fresnel.[3] The company is based in Fremont, California, with offices in Bakersfield, California, Muscat, Oman, Kuwait City, Kuwait and Shenzhen, China.

In December 2012, GlassPoint announced $26 million in Series B financing. Investors in the round included Royal Dutch Shell, RockPort Capital, Nth Power and Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital.[4]

In September 2014, GlassPoint announced $53 million in Series C financing. Investors in the round included Royal Dutch Shell, RockPort Capital, Nth Power and Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital. [5]

To date, GlassPoint has a total of $86.7 million in funding. [6]

In July 2015, GlassPoint announced a deal worth $600 million with Petroleum Development Oman to build one of the world's largest solar projects, named Miraah, meaning "mirror" in Arabic. [7]


Berry Petroleum[edit]

The world's first solar EOR project, operated by Berry Petroleum Company in Kern Country, CA, USA.

In 2011, GlassPoint deployed the world’s first commercial solar EOR project at an oil field operated by Berry Petroleum in Kern County, Calif., USA.[8] Built in less than six weeks, the system uses the sun’s radiant heat to produce approximately 1 million British Thermal Units (Btus) per hour of solar heat. GlassPoint partnered with local firms TJ Cross Engineers and PCL Industrial Services to construct the system, which spans 7,000 square feet of land on the 100-year old oilfield. The enclosed trough system preheats water to 190°F used as feedwater for Berry Petroleum’s gas-fired steam generators.

Petroleum Development Oman[edit]

A solar enhanced oil recovery project commissioned by Petroleum Development Oman

In May 2013, GlassPoint commissioned the Middle East's first solar EOR project, a 7MWth system developed in partnership with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the largest oil company in the Sultanate of Oman. The system produces an average of 50 tons of emissions-free steam daily.[9] This system is now in daily operation generating an average of 50 tons of emissions-free steam per day that feeds directly into existing thermal EOR operations at PDO’s Amal West oilfield.[10]

The system was completed on time, on budget, and with no Lost Time Injuries demonstrating GlassPoint and PDO’s shared commitment to health, safety, security and the environment (HSSE). During the first 12 months of operations, actual performance of the GlassPoint system matched output models within a few percent and steam production continues to exceed contracted performance targets. The system recorded 98.6% uptime and maintained regular operations during severe dust and sand storms. The automated roof-washing unit proved particularly effective in all weather events, restoring system performance overnight.[11] The project is serving as a performance and operational baseline for larger steam generators in Oman and is providing PDO with valuable information for planning potential large-scale projects in the future.

In July 2015, Petroleum Development Oman and GlassPoint Solar announced that they signed an agreement to build a 1 GWth solar field. The project, named Miraah, will be the world's largest solar field measured by peak thermal capacity. [12]

In-Country Value[edit]

New supply chains associated with solar EOR industries can generate local employment

GlassPoint claims its technology can help oil operators free natural gas currently burned for EOR by up to 80%. This gas can be redirected to higher value applications, such as desalination, industrial development or export as LNG, thus increasing economic well-being. New supply chains associated with solar EOR industries can generate significant societal value as well. For example, a recent Ernst & Young report confirmed that full-scale solar EOR deployment in Oman could create thousands of direct, indirect and induced jobs in Oman alone. Additionally, solar EOR can inject more than US$12 billion to the Omani GDP over the next decade and save half a billion cubic feet (BCF) of gas per day. Solar EOR can generate similar economic benefits in other countries producing heavy oil with abundant sunlight and scarce natural gas resources.[13]


  • Platts Global Energy Awards 2011. Commercial Technology of the Year Award[14]
  • Oil & Gas Middle East Awards 2013. Enhanced Oil Recovery Award[15]
  • MEED Quality Awards 2014. Oman Sustainable Project of the Year[16]
  • MENASOL CSP Technology Innovation for MENA 2015[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Solar heat for Oil Wells". The Economist. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Helman, Christopher. "Oil from the Sun". Forbes. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Goossens, Ehren (3 October 2011). "Chevron Uses Solar-Thermal Steam to Extract OIl in California". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "GlassPoint Solar Raises $26M". PE Hub. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Doom, Justin (8 September 2014). "Glasspoint Gets $53 Mln Financing Led by Shell, Oman". Bloomberg. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Helman, Christopher. "Ironic Or Economic? Oil Giant To Build World's Largest Solar Project". Forbes. 
  8. ^ Cox, John. "Solar oil project debuts in Kern". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Mahdi, Wael (21 May 2013). "GlassPoint Solar Sees Interest from Middle East Oil Firms". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Performance of an Enclosed Trough EOR system in South Oman" (PDF). SolarPACES. September 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Construction, Operations and Performance of the First Enclosed Trough Solar Steam Generation Pilot for EOR Applications" (PDF). Society of Petroleum Engineering. March 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Helman, Christopher (8 July 2015). "Ironic Or Economic? Oil Giant To Build World's Largest Solar Project". Forbs. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Solar Enhanced Oil Recovery - An in-country value assessment for Oman" (PDF). Ernst & Young. January 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "2011 Platts Global Energy Awards". Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ Winners of the OGME Awards 2013, Arabian Oil and Gas, retrieved June 27, 2014 
  16. ^ Oman Sustainable Project of the Year, Middle East Economic Digest, retrieved June 27, 2014 
  17. ^ Oman Sustainable Project of the Year, Zawya, retrieved July 9, 2015 

External links[edit]