The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Amonix, Solar Junction Plot CPV Efficiency Gains, Lower Costs

The two current record-holders in concentrated solar PV (CPV) cell and module technology hope that combining efforts will boost performance, and lower costs, to finally fulfill CPV's promise of lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) compared with other solar technologies.

Last October Solar Junction topped 44 percent efficiency with its multijunction solar cells. Amonix set the top market for a CPV module in May 2012 at 33.5 percent, using ~40 percent efficient cells supplied by Spectrolab. Putting the two together will push the end efficiency significantly higher, they believe, which is the key to reducing total system costs over time. And that is CPV's real selling point over other solar PV technologies: despite higher upfront costs, it makes up for that with lower LCOE over the system's lifetime.

This new agreement lets the companies formally open their process IP playbooks and determine how much more efficiency their combined technology would achieve, and where those refinements can be made. Most areas of CPV are pretty well maximized, explained Pat McCullough, Amonix's CEO: cell/module architecture, thermal diffusion, tracking systems, and general geometry. "We think it's managing the recipe and their process to make and tune the cell," he said, "and maybe optimize the optics to fuller utilize the cell's capability."

Amonix also likes that Solar Junction's target sunlight concentration is around the same that it uses (900-1000×), which they believe is the optimal level balancing cost, efficiency, and long-term reliability, McCullough said. Higher levels of concentration (up to 2000x) is not cost-effective, and lower levels of concentration don't squeeze out enough efficiency per surface area.

As the current CPV leader in active CPV installations, Amonix feels a duty to "facilitate development of all cell companies and work with the best ones," McCullough said. A robust cell industry should foster an efficiency arms-race among CPV cell providers, which will ultimately raise the efficiency bar and ultimately improve the economics and pricing for the entire CPV system.

Some small gains can be made in terms of materials, optics, or in ramping economies-of-scale and standardizing processes. But the real gains will come from continuing to raise conversion efficiency, where CPV has a lot more headroom than other solar PV technologies, points out Ed Cahill from Lux Research. Higher conversion efficiency means more output in a given surface area, and that reduces the cost of everything else, from modules to tracking systems to operations/maintenance. Ratcheting CPV module efficiency from 30 percent to a projected 35 percent by 2017, he says, would chop a current $2.95/W down to $2.29/W. Other solar PV technologies are now around, or slightly below, $2/W — but "we don't have to get all the way down to where silicon is," he says, "just close enough where it's worthwhile."

Lead image: Bar graph and ladder, via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Solar Beats Gas in Colorado

Christopher Martin, Bloomberg SunEdison Inc., the biggest clean-energy developer, began construction on a Colorado solar farm that will be the larg...

Listen Up: Solar Advice from Pat Redgate at Ameco Solar

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Technologies, companies and business models in the solar industry come and go. But even in the relatively new solar i...

Six Observations about the US Solar Industry Mid-2015

Paula Mints In the U.S. mid-2015, deployment of solar technologies into all applications is at a pivotal point with several facto...

Indian Solar Market Ready to Takeoff

Renewable Energy World Editors Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and research firm, released its quarterly update on the In...

PRESS RELEASES

Free ImagineSolar Online Course Demonstration

ImagineSolar will be holding another live demonstration of PV250e: Solar PV Economics a...

Canadian Solar Announces Partnership in 200 MW Tranquility Solar Power Project

Recurrent Energy signed an agreement with Southern Power to partner on the Tranquility ...

AWS Truepower Announces Major Expansion of its Due Diligence Team in Response to Growing Market Demand

AWS Truepower, an international leader in wind and solar energy consulting and engineer...

FEATURED BLOGS

NATiVE Recognized for Excellence at 2015 Greater Austin Business Awards

NATiVE Recognized for Excellence at 2015 Greater Austin Business Awards NEWS RELEASE AUSTIN, Texas – Aug. 27...

Solar Energy Means Jobs, Savings, and a Low-Cost Future [infographic]

There are a lot of utility-sponsored legislative and regulatory attacks on solar energy lately, and we put together t...

How To Get People To Do Stuff

It’s no secret that psychology and sales go hand in hand. If you understand the principles of human psychology ...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Solar Power International 2015

Solar Power International, ranked as the largest solar trade show in Nor...

International Energy and Sustainability Conference 2015

The fourth International Energy and Sustainability Conference will be he...

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

COMPANY BLOGS

7 Tips For Capturing Attention

When you’re giving a presentation or pitching a sale, you’re...

A Mind Trick For Call Reluctance

The more you think of yourself as the connection between a product or se...

Come check out Lumos at Solar Power International 2015!

The Lumos 2015 trade shows started off with a bang at Dwell on Design. W...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS