GlassPoint weighs solar mirror manufacturing plant in Oman

GlassPoint Solar, a partner with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) in the establishment of a world-scale solar plant at Amal in south Oman, is weighing plans to invest in a manufacturing plant in the Sultanate dedicated to the fabrication of large curved mirrors at the heart of its giant solar oilfield ventures.
The initiative, when implemented, is expected to position the Sultanate as a key source of curved mirrors for GlassPoint’s solar oilfield projects in Oman and the wider Middle East region. Additionally, the proposed plant will ramp up the California-based company’s contribution to local content development linked to its award-winning solar thermal technology for oilfield applications.
Earlier this week, PDO and GlassPoint celebrated the formal inauguration of the first four blocks of the mammoth Miraah solar plant, which is harnessing solar energy to generate steam in place of natural gas, to produce heavy oil from the Amal field. A further 32 blocks are planned for construction, offering more than 1 gigawatt of capacity when the project is fully rolled out by 2019.
According to Ben Bierman, Chief Operating Officer & Acting CEO of GlassPoint Solar, efforts are underway to source a greater share of materials for the Miraah project, as well as other ventures in the region, from the Omani market. For example, the aluminium ribs holding the curved mirrors installed in GlassPoint’s numerous greenhouses are being extruded and fabricated at a plant in Rusayl, said Bierman.
“The next step is to make the mirrors locally, and then we will have a mirror manufacturing facility going here in Oman,” the executive said, adding that the company is working with Sohar Aluminium to qualify them to manufacture the material that makes up the mirrors. “We will buy the aluminium, fabricate it into these shapes, and do it all inside of Oman,” he stated.
Asked if GlassPoint has plans to invest in the proposed plant, Bierman replied: “Yes, we would!”
Earlier, addressing a gathering of dignitaries at the inauguration ceremony, the official underlined Oman’s potential to serve as a manufacturer and exporter of materials for GlassPoint’s projects elsewhere around the region.
“We no longer need to import these materials from Europe or Asia, we’re able to have them produced where they will be used — in Oman. We look forward to exporting materials from Oman to help us build solar generators wherever they are needed. And it’s not just materials that Oman can share with the world. We are creating a centre of excellence with solar experts rights here in the Sultanate, and we look forward to working with you to export that knowledge elsewhere as we expand to new markets and new regions.”