Monitoring, Solar

Prism Solar Puts Its Product to the Test

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation and Prism Solar Technologies of Highland, N.Y. announced that they are collaborating in a three-year, $190,000 R&D project to test the effectiveness of solar panels using Prism Solar’s holographic film.

The two companies will install, monitor and compare three solar systems of equal peak power ratings, each using a different design: a holographic solar system with bi-facial cells (Prism’s module design), a holographic solar system with mono-facial cells, and a conventional crystalline silicon solar system.

Prism anticipates that the two holographic systems will generate more electricity than the conventional photovoltaic system under all lighting conditions.

Prism Solar’s holographic film replaces most of the silicon cells required in a solar module to result in a module that is about half the cost of a conventional one, according to the company. Prism says that holographic modules can produce 20 to 40 percent more energy per watt by selecting the most useful wavelengths of light and concentrating them onto solar cells.

Holographic modules also allow cells to operate near peak efficiency in low light conditions, which is especially important in regions like the Northeast, said the company.

The three 2.5 kilowatt solar systems will be installed at Central Hudson’s Coldenham substation in Orange County, N.Y. in early fall 2010. A weather monitoring station will also be installed to measure sun and cloud conditions, sun angle and other factors that can influence electric generation. Electrical output and weather data will be transmitted to Prism and used to analyze the relative effectiveness of the three panels. This information will be used by Prism to refine and market their product, and performance reports will be provided to Central Hudson. The electricity generated by the three systems will be delivered over the local electric distribution system for use by Central Hudson customers.