SPI 2011: SunPower’s CPV C7 Tracker claims the lowest utility-scale solar power plant LCOE

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SunPower has launched the SunPower C7 Tracker, a solar PV tracking system that concentrates the sun's power seven times to achieve what is claimed to be the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar power plants available today.

Problem

Utility-scale solar power plants are guided by the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). Key areas focused on to reduce LCOE have included higher efficient modules or lower cost modules. BOS cost reductions have included modular racking and electrical connection systems. However, reducing overall components usage reduces installation times and project development costs. Combined with CPV technology could provide the lowest LCOE in the industry.

Solution

The C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto 22.8% efficient SunPower ‘Maxeon’ solar cells, which are the world's most efficient commercially available solar cells.  Using mirrors to reduce the number of solar cells required to generate electricity is claimed to lower the LCOE by up to 20% compared to competing technologies. For example, a 400-megawatt C7 Tracker power plant requires less than 70 megawatts of SunPower solar cells.

Applications

The C7 Tracker is designed for regions with high solar irradiance through direct sunlight, including the U.S. southwest and areas of the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Platform

The C7 Tracker includes modular solar cell receivers allowing for future performance upgrades. Additionally, the SunPower advanced Tracker Monitoring and Control System (TMAC) provides wireless control of the power plant for increased operating efficiency and reduced maintenance cost. SunPower can rapidly deploy regional manufacturing of the system, supporting local job creation.

Availability

October 2011 onwards. 

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