SolFocus introduces concentrator PV system targeted for medium-, utility-scale solar installations

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Concentrator photovoltaics company SolFocus has introduced a CPV system targeting the medium- and utility-scale markets. The SF-1100S can achieve panel efficiencies of 25%, resulting in systems which the company says produce the highest energy density and energy yield of any PV systems on the market.

The company’s scalable CPV design uses a system of reflective, glass-based optics to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto small, highly efficient (~40%) III-V-based solar cells. Like its smaller cousin, the SF-1000S, the SF-1100S uses approximately 1/1000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional PV panels.

SolFocus integrates its CPV panels with an advanced tracking system that continuously aligns the solar array with direct sunlight throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. The dual-axis tracking technology has been developed specifically for integration with the 1100S panels, providing a highly integrated and performance-optimized system. The tracking capability of the SolFocus 1100S results in energy generation ideally matched to peak demand periods.

SolFocus says that its customer EMPE Solar will deploy 1100S systems for the recently announced €80 million, 10+-MW utility-scale installations on several sites across southern Spain, a project expected to be the largest deployment of CPV technology in Europe.

“With the efficiency gains from the SolFocus 1100S, our customers benefit from clean, reliable energy with a small land footprint and low lifetime cost,” said Mark Crowley, president of SolFocus.

SolFocus says its solar panels are the only CPV technology listed so far by the California Energy Commission as qualified for California Solar Initiative incentives.

The company’s Kelly Desy told PV-Tech during a visit last month to the SolFocus headquarters in Mountain View, CA, that the CPV firm relies on a combination of in-house and outsourced manufacturing.

The glass fabrication and coating is done by SolFocus’ glass division in Mesa, AZ, the cell-receiver subsystems are produced by Flextronics in Texas, most of the panels are assembled by Moser Baer in India, and the tracking systems are built at the company’s facilities in Spain and at a contract house in China.

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