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PV concentrator systems

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Posted by H. E. Taylor on July 16, 2005, 11:09 pm
2005/07/15: WorldChanging: Concentration

We're all familiar to some degree with traditional photovoltaics, the flat
dark-gray panels that generate electricity from light. Improvements in
photovoltaic technology keep popping up, and solar will undoubtedly be a
big part of the bright green future. But less well-known are photovoltaic
concentrators, systems that use lenses and/or mirrors to boost the amount     
of light hitting a given patch of photovoltaic material, with the goal of
increasing the overall output. Photovoltaic concentrators are commonly used
on satellites to maximize the power-to-weight ratio, but have had more
limited success for Earthly energy production due to the cost.

That may soon change.

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory just held a conference on
photovoltaic concentration technology in Scottsdale, Arizona. Among the
announcements: the availability of PV concentration systems with efficiencies
close to 40% at concentrated sunlight levels.


"The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for
 our wits to grow sharper." -Eden Phillpotts

PV FAQ: http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/energy/pv_faq.html
H.E. Taylor  http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/

Posted by quasarstrider on July 16, 2005, 11:51 pm
H. E. Taylor wrote:

I have read a lot about concentrators... Most things I read said that
although they have higher efficiency, the cell is usually more
expensive because it must be able to handle high temperatures
(concentrated light). Plus because of the mirror system, they usually
need to be track the movement of the Sun on the sky, adding even more
expense. Those articles said it ended up as a wash really, having
similar cost/efficiency compared to plain ordinary PV solar cells in a
fixed orientation.

Posted by Gman on July 17, 2005, 5:07 pm

This looks promising:


Posted by cyril on July 20, 2005, 1:12 pm
 On 16 Jul 2005 16:51:15 -0700, "quasarstrider"

Also, they have a setback : they can only use *direct* sunlight, not
diffuse light. No They can't produce at all in a cloudy weather, while
conventionnal PV still give some power.

Of course, this setback is more or less significant depending on where
you plan to build the plant.

Posted by Bill Ward on July 17, 2005, 1:10 am
 On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 16:09:27 -0700, "H. E. Taylor"

William Mook discussed Vertical MultiJunction (VMJ) solar
call concentrator systems in s.e.h a couple years ago. He
was working on some interesting very low cost concepts for
coal liquifaction applications.

Haven't heard much about how it's going at present.  Anybody


Bill Ward

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