SA car manufacturer that diversified into renewable energy reaps success with CSIRO solar thermal technology


Thanks to the Australian Government’s $20 million Automotive Diversification Programme, Heliostat SA, a SA solar component supplier that employs former auto industry workers, has deployed its solar technology in a hybrid solar tower system by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) in Yokohama, Japan.

Solar research facility, Newcastle - 2011 Image credit: CSIRO website
Solar research facility, Newcastle – 2011
Image credit: CSIRO website

Heliostat SA designs and manufactures world-leading CSP heliostats and solar array products for renewable energy power systems using state-of-the-art technology from Australia’s leading research organisation, CSIRO.

MHPS received funding from the Japanese Ministry of the Environment to “develop and verify technologies for enhancing measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

Heliostat SA is a new company that is a new division of Precision Components, an Australian company that was affected by the car industry downturn. Heliostat SA was actually created with the support of four South Australian companies: Precision Components; The University of South Australia; May Brothers and Enersalt.

Precision Components received a $1 million investment from the Australian Government to diversify into renewable energy. The company uses the same pressed metal equipment that it previously used in automotive parts manufacturing and retrained its production workers to transfer to the manufacture of solar energy devices.

“This is a perfect example of manufacturing transitioning successfully to a whole new field, using the skills and equipment from one industry to benefit a very different one. It’s also an illustration of what can be achieved when science is brought to the centre of industry policy,” said Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane during yesterday’s visit at the Beverley plant.

This is the second international deployment of CSIRO heliostat technology, following the recent installation of a research field in Cyprus.

“These projects are the fruits of more than a decade of solar thermal research emanating from our energy centre in Newcastle and demonstrate the growing worldwide appetite for concentrated solar power,” said CSIRO’s Energy and Resources Executive Director Dr Alex Wonhas.

“To have CSIRO’s heliostats selected by MHPS, a global leader in energy proves that our technology is up there with the best in the world. Our successful collaboration with Heliostat SA also shows the benefits of science working closely with industry to create value for the Australian economy.”

Click here for more information about Precision Components and Heliostat SA or any of the other successful Automotive Diversification Programme recipients.