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Vast Solar agrees to $586M SPAC merger

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill stylized as an electric symbol.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vast, an Australian developer of concentrated solar-thermal projects, agreed to merge with a blank-check company backed by Houston oil services firm Nabors Industries.

  • The combined company's implied equity value is between $305 million and $586 million, Vast and Nabors say.

Why it matters: Vast's approach combines "towers of power" with molten salt for up to 16 hours of energy storage.

Details: Vast will combine with Nabors Energy Transition Corp. and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • The deal is expected to generate $351 million in gross proceeds for Vast: $286 million from the SPAC's trust account; $15 million each from Nabors and from Vast’s existing owner, AgCentral Energy; and a "targeted minimum" of $35 million from third-party investors.

How it works: Concentrated solar-thermal plants commonly mirror the sun's rays onto a receiver.

What's happening: The Australian government is providing up to A$110 million in concessional financing and A$65 million in non-dilutive grants for Vast to build a 30 MW concentrated solar plant at Port Augusta in southern Australia.

  • The plant will include 288 MWh of storage, enabling it to dispatch electricity for up to eight hours overnight.

Zoom in: Vast says the storage tech enables its plants to dispatch electricity, heat, or both — making it a better fit for industrial sites that require heat.

  • The Port Augusta plant, for example, will partly power a green methanol demonstration plant there.

Be smart: Researchers at the University of Buraimi in Oman found that concentrated solar is best-suited for hot, dry climates with little seasonal variability.

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