Solar

CPV growth depends on cost reductions, bankability

Concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) make up only 28 of the total installed 33,000MW of solar power, but GTM Research forecasts annual CPV installations to surpass 1,000MW per year by 2015. A short track record and weakly backed performance warranties have held CPV back, Brett Prior says.

May 23, 2011 – BUSINESS WIREConcentrated photovoltaics (CPV) make up only 28 of the total installed 33,000MW of solar power, but GTM Research forecasts annual CPV installations to surpass 1,000MW per year by 2015. Multiple utility-scale project announcements over the past year are generating a growing pipeline of CPV. GTM Research’s “Concentrating Photovoltaics 2011: Technology, Costs and Markets” report covers the competitive dynamics affecting global CPV market potential and CPV’s position within the solar power industry.

GTM Research’s forecast depends on CPV companies successfully meeting cost reduction goals, aiming to drop installed CPV system cost by more than 30% over the next 4 years. The report includes a comparison of CPV to non-concentrating solar technologies in key technological and financial metrics.

Cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and bankability determine the solar technology for large power plants, said Brett Prior, report co-author and senior analyst at GTM Research. CPV’s pro? Lower cost/kWh. Con? Lack of bankability. A short track record and weakly backed performance warranties have held CPV back, Prior says.

 Click to Enlarge
Figure. CPV projects globally in operation, under construction or in development (Graphic source: Business Wire)

Top CPV companies
Amonix, Concentrix Solar, and SolFocus account for 96% of global projects in operation, construction or development (with signed power purchase agreements). Each has attracted strong strategic partners in the past 2 years. Strong partnerships can help generate additional demand, bringing credibility to CPV. This in turn will help future plants secure bank financing, says Prior.

Amonix just completed manufacturing ramp-up of its 214k square foot manufacturing facility on North Pecos Road in North Las Vegas, NV, USA. The facility manufactures Amonix CPV solar power systems and employs over 300 local residents in management, technical and production jobs. Amonix has also raised over a hundred million dollars in equity investment.

Concentrix Solar expanded in the US a little under a year ago (July 2010), opening a subsidiary in San Diego, CA, USA and achieving a California Energy Commission (CEC) listing for its CPV cells.

SolFocus has gone through 3 rounds of financing (series C in July 2009 brought in $77 million) and named its COO Bob Legendre president. SolFocus has recently reported several installs, most recently from Coachella, CA.

Greentech Media delivers research and analysis in the business-to-business greentech market. Access Concentrating Photovoltaics 2011: Technology, Costs and Markets report, visit http://www.gtmresearch.com/report/concentrating-photovoltaics-2011

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