Improved technology and decreasing costs could boost concentrated PV (CPV) installations to 3GW worldwide within four years, according to research.

A report by IMS Research said that advances in CPV technology would drive down costs by 16% annually, prompting an increase in installations from today’s cumulative total of around 160MW to 3GW by 2016.

“With companies such as Solar Junction breaking cell efficiency records and Amonix capable of producing 34.2% efficient commercial modules, and focused on driving down system prices, acceptance of CPV as a utility-scale generation method is predicted to accelerate,” said report co-author and IMS Research Analyst Jemma Davies.

The report acknowledged that the upfront cost of a CPV module will always be higher than conventional PV.

But with greater cell and module efficiencies leading to higher electricity yields, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) — the lifetime cost of producing of electricity — can be lower with CPV than conventional PV in its target regions, Davies said.

In its target markets, CPV systems are predicted to be capable of achieving up to 12% lower LCOE compared to PV. Providing suppliers continue to drive down costs and improve the efficiency of the systems, the LCOE of CPV in these target areas could be up to 30% lower than PV by 2016, IMS said.

“With PV it’s always been about upfront costs and going for the cheapest option per megawatt,” Davies said.

“But people need to understand that these [CPV] systems can produce electricity more cheaply over their lifetime.”

The report said that the biggest problem facing CPV suppliers is the lack of operating CPV systems to prove viability.

But with a number of companies around the world announcing pilot projects, the technology will have more opportunities to prove itself, IMS said.