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

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now


Electricity Deregulation

Japan Electricity Deregulation: Birth of Municipally Owned Electric Utilities

Junko Movellan, Correspondent The upcoming retail electricity deregulation in Japan will create a way for Japanese municipal governments to produce...
Solar panel

REC Joins O Capital in Egypt to Tap Solar Panel Market in Middle East, Africa

Anna Hirtenstein, Bloomberg REC Solar ASA has signed a deal with O Capital, the renewable energy arm of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Hold...
Solar PV

OneEnergy Seeks Authority to Build 6 MW Solar PV Facility in Southern Maryland

Jennifer Delony OneEnergy Renewables is seeking regulatory approval in Maryland to build a 6 MW solar PV facility in Somerset County,...
Solar water heating

California Regulators Propose Expansion of Eligibility Requirements for Solar Water Heating Program

Jennifer Delony The California Public Utilities Commission has proposed expanding the eligibility requirements for customers seeking ...


US Solar Hosts Sierra Club Solar Meeting

This past Monday, US Solar welcomed a new group to its solar training classroom – The S...

US Solar Invited to Speak at Intersolar North America

Intersolar, the largest solar conference and expo in North America is right around the ...

US Solar - Green Planet Festival Highlights Solar Energy and Solar Training This Weekend

US Solar Institute (USSI) is excited to announce that they are the educational sponsor ...

Yaskawa – Solectria Solar Provides Inverters for One of the Largest Professional Sport Stadium PV Systems in North America

Yaskawa - Solectria Solar, a leading U.S. PV inverter manufacturer, announced today tha...


Solar Decathlon 2015 Opens to the Public in California

Today, Oct. 8, the biennial Solar Decathlon opened up to the public at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, ...

ENER-G CHP technology selected for major London housing scheme

ENER-G has been selected to supply combined heat and power (CHP) technology for phase two of the Leopold Estate housi...


Necessity is the mother of innovation. Our planet is going through major changes in climate. This of course will affe...

Georgia Legislature Approves PPA’s, Florida Hoping to Follow

Ah, the sunny south, the land of peaches, oranges and solar potential. I’m talking about Georgia and Florida he...


Jim is Contributing Editor for, 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, ...


Volume 18, Issue 4


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


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Frontier Offsite Office at Solar Power International (2 mins....

Solar Frontier will be hosting an offsite meeting room offering our gues...

PV-Diesel Hybrid Systems to Reduce Diesel Demand

Substantial fuel cost saving potential has made PV technology the centre...


Sell Through Hypothesis

You first learned to hypothesize, or make educated guesses, in grade sch...

Vacancy? No Problem!

Have you ever tried to sell an efficiency product or service to a prospe...

Going The Extra Mile

Selling efficiency takes perseverance, creativity, and a willingness to ...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now