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Directory:Concentrated Solar Power

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Directory of technologies and resources relating to concentrating solar energy to increase conversion efficiency.

Solar Concentrators can be divided into several catagories among them are photovoltaic systems and thermal systems. Photovoltaic systems turn light directly into electricity. Thermal systems use the concentrated sunlight to create heat which will typically turn a turbine.

Contents

Overviews

Concentrating Hybrids

  • Solar > PV / Thermal >
    Entech Solar energy hybrid has hopes for bright future - Entech Solar's next-generation concentrating solar prototype, ThermaVolt II, combines concentrating photovoltaic and thermal (CPVT) technology. The company says its product delivers four to five times the amount of energy compared to traditional photovoltaic systems and costs less to produce. (GizMag; August 14, 2009)

Concentrating Photovoltiac Systems (Commercially Available)

Amonix

  • Amonix - High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) power generation systems for large commercial and utility scale applications offer significant cost savings by using inexpensive flat, plastic Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight approximately 500 times. The Amonix high-concentration silicon solar cell holds the world record for the performance of a cell manufactured in a commercial environment (26.5% efficiency).

Concentrix

  • Concentrix Solar GmbH - FLATCON®, uses concentrator PV modules to focus sunlight on high-performance solar cells, which then directly convert solar energy into electricity. Fresnel lenses focus direct sunlight through a 2mm-diameter focal x`point, concentrating the sunlight by a factor of 500.

Green and Gold Energy SunCube

Infinia

  • Infinia Corp's Stirling Solar Technology' - Infinia's solar technology entails a parabolic dish that focuses the sun's energy onto their stirling engine that uses helium in a hermetically sealed system, requiring no lubrication inside the machine, nor maintenance. (PESWiki; Feb. 21, 2008)

Pacific SolarTech

  • Pacific SolarTech - Concentrator photovoltaic modules for utility-scale, remote and grid-connected systems use dome-shaped lenses to concentrate sunlight 10x onto small solar cells (1/10 of the lens size). This reduces the requisite amount of silicone, making solar power affordable. Dome-shaped lenses can catch diffuse light and redirect it to the solar cells with a fixed, non-tracking mount for rooftop applications.

SHEC Labs

  • Featured: Storage > Hydrogen >H Storage / Solar > Concentrated > Thermal > SHEC >
    NEST Lines up Grid-Parity Solar - The first success story of the New Energy Systems Trust (NEST) seems to have already commenced with us lining up a breakthrough grid-parity solar company with an order for 4500 one-megawatt systems in India. SHEC Labs is a likely vendor of the biomass-to-H technology, if not using their solar thermal storage breakthrough. (PESN; May 9, 2012)

SOL3G

  • SOL3G Spanish company manufacturing solar photovoltaic concentrators using 32% efficient triple junction cells. System is commerically available in MW quantities in 2008.

Solergy

  • Solar > PV / Concentrated >
    Solergy Launches Next-Gen CPV With Record-Breaking Efficiency - Solergy's CPV systems featuring an all-glass optical concentrating lens - the world's first. The all-glass optics, high-precision tracking and optimized basic energy unit ensure that Solergy's system consistently produces more energy than any other PV or CPV product in existence. (Solar Daily; Nov. 17, 2010)

SolFocus

  • SolFocus combines the record-setting efficiency of triple-junction solar cells with the tremendous power of tailored imaging optics. The current designs of SolFocus promise to deliver the lowest cost per Watt of installed energy as well as the lowest cost per kW/h of any solar PV design for the foreseeable future. Company is shipping product in MW quantities in 2008.

VP3Solar Spin Cell

  • Featured: Solar > Concentrated > PV >
    V3 Solar's Spin Cell - V3Solar's Spin Cell is claimed to be capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel with the same area of PV cells thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics. The V3 Spin Cell features two cones, one made up of hundreds of triangular PV cells ... (PESWiki; October 6, 2012)

Concentrating Photovoltiac Systems (Commercially Availablity Expected in 2009)

  • Top 100: Solar > Concentrated > Cool Earth Solar >
    Interview: Cool Earth Solar's Answer to Global Energy Crisis - In 1-hour interview, CEO, Rob Lamkin, discusses how his company's inflatable solar concentrator technology slashes materials costs, making solar farms able to compete with natural gas plants, and eventually even coal plants. Commercial deployment expected next year (2009); could satisfy a large portion of Gore's 10-years-to-100%-renewable initiative. (FreeEnergyNow; Aug. 9, 2008)
  • SUNRGI's Affordable CSP Solar Coming in a Year - Focusing the sun's rays 2000x and pulling the heat away from the photovoltaic cells, combined with a method of low-cost mass production, the Xtreme concentrated photovoltaics by SUNRGI are expected to produce in the range of 5-7 cents per kilowatt hour. (PESWiki; May 2, 2008)
  • Whitfield Solar British company developing a solar concentrated PV system using fresnel lenses and triple junction cells. Pilot systems installed in Spain in 2006. Should be available in commercial MW volumes in 2009.
  • Prism Solar Technologies manufactures a new type of photovoltaic module that uses transparent holographic optical elements to reduce the amount of silicon required. Spectral selection keeps it cool. Passive tracking reduces the cost.

Soliant (Heliotube)

  • Soliant - Heliotube brings together the efficiency of concentrator technology with the convenience of a traditional flat panel. Heliotube’s concentrators have integrated tracking built into the panel, enabling non-penetrating roof mounting and more uniform power throughout the day. The company's patent-pending approach uses 88% less photovoltaic material than traditional panels.

Concentrating Photovoltaic Systems (in development)

  • Solar > Concentrated >
    ZenithSolar Creates Solar Generator with Incredible 72% Efficiency - Israel-based energy company ZenithSolar has broken records with its 3rd generation CHP solar energy generator (Solar Z20) that combines heat and power systems to create an incredible 72% solar conversion efficiency by using a “semi-parabolic optical mirror for collecting solar energy” to power the local community’s electric and hot water use. (Inhabitat; Oct. 20, 2010)
  • Solar > Concentrated > PV >
    Truly Amazing Advanced Solar Cell from Israel - Prof David Faiman of Zenith Solar says: "When we collect the light, instead of using a huge area of solar cells, we use an equal area of cheap glass mirrors and they are curved in such a way as to concentrate the light onto a very small solar cell, the size of just one cell, and in this way you concentrate the light a thousand times and you can get a thousand times more power out of a small cell." (iPlanet Energy News; Apr. 26, 2010)
  • Start-up: Affordable solar power possible in a year - SUNRGI's "concentrated photovoltaic" system, to be produced by mid-2009, installed at 7 cents per kilowatt hour, relies on lenses to magnify sunlight 2,000 times, letting it produce as much electricity as standard panels with a far smaller system. (USA Today; April 30, 2008)
  • CoolEarth Solar - Coolearth develops and owns solar power plants utilizing a proprietary concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology (reflective balloons). Coolearth has engineered a cost efficient power plant that competes economically with conventional fuels and received $21 million in VC funding. (Inhabitat; Feb. 4. 2008)
  • New Kind of Solar Plant - GreenVolts concentrated solar PV plants are being installed in California by PG&E as solar peaker plants designed to produce up to five megawatts during the peak demand at the hottest part of the day. They're composed of small mirrors that concentrate the sun's light on a small, ultra-efficient photovoltaic cell. (EcoGeek; Jul. 3, 2007)
  • Slicing Up Silicon for Cheaper Solar - Solaria, a startup based in Fremont, CA, intends to cut the cost of solar panels by decreasing the amount of expensive material required. It has recently started shipping its first panels to select customers. This spring the company will begin production of solar panels at a factory built to produce 25 megawatts of solar panels per year. (MIT Technology Review; March 14, 2008)
  • Lateral Aperture Solar Design - "Think of a sheet of glass set out to capture the sunlight; instead of letting the light pass through or reflecting it off somewhere, it captures the light inside the thickness of the pane. It then redirects it toward an edge, or a number of them, where it then emerges at a concentration ratio." (PESWiki; July 23, 2008)
  • Entech - Inexpensive Fresnel lenses capture the sunlight, and focus it onto small solar cells, thereby reducing electricity costs compared to conventional flat-plate (planar) solar energy approaches. Concentrating the sunlight to 20 times its normal intensity reduces the use of expensive silicon cell material by 95%.
  • Maxxun - Development of luminescent solar energy concentrators with special coatings to enhance the light output of these concentrators by 2-3 times. The concentrators are combined with highly efficient photovoltaic cells and it is anticipated that these systems will provide solar energy at a cost which is competitive with the grid.
  • Solenergy - Sunflower SRC Solar Ridge Concentrators are a simple, reliable and low cost way to generate twice as much energy as fixed modules. They have achieved a recordable 12 cents per kW-hour energy cost. Ridge concentrators do not require precise tracking, which makes them very simple in installation and reliable in operation.
  • Stellaris has demonstrated Concentrating Photovoltaic Glazing (CPG) can lower manufacturing costs of solar modules by more than 40% versus those of leading competitors in the solar industry. Superior encapsulation technique also increases efficiency by over 20% and provides greater protection of the photovoltaic (PV) material. Final module cost approaches $1.00/Watt.
  • Sliver Solar Cells - New manufacturing process developed at the Australian National University uses as little as 1/30th the amount of hyper-pure silicon as in square solar PV technology. Manufacturing plant is complete, and process testing is underway. Commercial modules projected to be available by mid 2007. The thinness of the wafers makes them flexible and both top and bottom surfaces are active
  • Sol Solution Is developing a photovoltaic system that takes advantage of chromatic aberration called a 'Rainbow Concentrator' to separate and concentrate the solar spectrum. This will allow higher efficiencies for solar cells that are optimized for a specific range of wavelengths[1].
  • H2Go has committed to first generation design incorporating non-imaging compound concentrating optics employing the Spectrolab triple junction cells. The concentration ratio is 500 suns, allowing for passive cooling.
  • Infinia - 3 kW Solar Stirling product for commercial and residential users will generate electricity more efficiently and economically than Photovoltaic (PV) systems. It concentrates sunlight on a free-piston Stirling engine made from common materials using low-cost manufacturing techniques, delivering a net system efficiency of over 24%.
  • Sunengy Liquid Solar Array - The LSA system is based on floating solar collectors made mostly of plastic. Each has a very small area of silicon photovoltaic cells at the water surface with a large, thin plastic focussing lens rotating slowly above to track the sun. Has the potential to produce electricity for 3 US cents / kWhr.
  • SV Solar - Silicon Valley Solar manufactures flat plate, internal concentrator solar modules, that produce 16% more power with half the solar cells. Sol-X modules do not require tracking, use no moving parts, and deliver efficiency, reliability, cost effectiveness and ease of integration.
  • Energy Innovations - Standing over five feet square and five feet high, the Sunflower™ has 25 mirrors that track the sun, reflecting light onto the receiver. The solarcell array turns concentrated light into electricity while fans keep operating tempuratures low.
  • Solarsphere - Technology combines elements of both direct intercept dishes and Solar Towers. The design philosophy that focuses on spheres and lightweight, thin film materials presents opportunities for concentrators that are large, cheap and mass producible.
  • Cool Earth Solar - Company has developed an inflatable solar concentrator technology that slashes materials costs, making solar farms competitive with commercial electricity generation systems within three years.
  • Cost-effective solar - Pythagoras Solar is focused on changing the economics of photovoltaic technology through innovation of the basic technical principles. The company is working to combine software models, optic design, semiconductor processes, materials science, and mass manufacturing techniques to build highly durable, cost effective solar energy products. (CNET News; Feb. 19, 2008)
  • SVV Technology Innovations - SVVTI has introduced cost effective "Reflective Lens" solar concentrating collectors featuring high single-stage concentration ability. The reflective array design is free from the light-dispersion effects of conventional refractive lenses, which allows for obtaining much higher efficiencies.
  • Solaflect Energy - By reducing the cost of heliostat mirror arrays, SunTrakker makes central receiver solar energy production economically viable - without subsidies or credits - today.


Concentrating Thermal Systems

AORA

  • Top 100 / Featured: Solar > Concentrated >
    AORA hybrid solar provides baseload, community power - Israeli company combines a modular concentrated solar tower technology with other heat sources to enable its plants to be baseload capable, providing utility power needs 24/7/365. Each 'solar flower' is designed to produce 100 kW of electricity as well as 170kW of thermal power, targeting community-sized production. (PESWiki; July 3, 2009)

Ausra

  • Ausra Opens First U.S. Solar Thermal Power Factory - Ausra, the developer of utility-scale solar thermal power headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, officially opened the reflector production line of its first North American manufacturing and distribution center in Las Vegas. At full capacity, it will annually produce more than 700 megawatts of solar collectors. (Ausra News Release; June 30, 2008)
  • Large solar energy plant opens near Bakersfield - The Carrizo Plain power plant by Palo Alto startup Ausra, has long rows of mirrors that generate as much as 5 megawatts of electricity, enough for 3,750 homes. The mirrors focus sunlight on tubes filled with water, generating steam that then turns a turbine to produce electricity. (Video) (San Francisco Chronicle; Oct. 23, 2008)

Beam Down Solar

  • Beam-Down Solar Concentrator Dramatically Reduces Costs at Price of Efficiency - By seeking to cut costs with the production of energy and building the necessary infrastructure, scientists from the Masdar Institute along with their colleagues from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Cosmo Oil (?) are studying how to convert old, expensive solar concentrator technology to a new and more flexible one: The Beam Down Project. (The Green Optimistic; Jan 22, 2010)

BrightSource

Google

  • Solar > Concentrated >
    Google Ups R&D to Make Solar Cheaper than Coal Google's new patented concentrated solar technology makes use of a camera to adjust mirrors that optimize a given plant’s efficiency. The camera and a processing computer are located within the central tower of the solar thermal plant, and if a misalignment, or better (more efficient) angle is detected, then the mirrors are adjusted by robotic actuators. (Inhabitat; June 9, 2011)

eSolar

  • eSolar: Utility-Scale Solar Power - eSolar heliostats were designed to minimize cost, realizing economy-of-scale benefits at much smaller power plant sizes than traditional solar thermal plants. Mass manufacturing means eSolar power plants are cost competitive with fossil fuels.
  • Renewables Cheaper than Coal - Google announced a new initiative, known as RE<C, to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal. To start with, a wind and a solar firm have been identified as Google's early bets: eSolar (solar thermal power) and Makani Power (high-altitude wind). (EcoGeek; Nov. 27, 2007)

Infinia Corp

Luz

  • 400 MW Solar Thermal Plant Planned - BrightSource Energy plans to develop a solar thermal power complex in California, utilizing Distributed Power Tower (DPT) technology developed by Luz II. It consists of mirrors called heliostats, which reflect the sun's light to a central tower to heat water and run a steam turbine to create electricity. (Renewable Energy Access; Sep. 10, 2007)

Schott

Solarlite

Solel

  • Mojave Solar Park planned - Solel plans to build a 553 megawatt solar thermal plant in 6,000 acres of the Mojave Desert by 2011. The plant will use Solel's solar thermal parabolic trough technology that has powered nine operating solar power plants in the Mojave Desert and is currently generating 354 MW of annual electricity. (Renewable Energy Access; Jul. 26, 2007)

Solargenix

  • Solargenix Energy - The Winston Series CPC is a Compound Parabolic Collector utilizing non-imaging optics to focus sunlight onto a high efficiency absorber tube. It will be used for solar water heating, space heating and solar cooling applications.

SolarReserve

  • Storage >
    Solar power generation around the clock - SolarReserve is developing a solar power system that can store seven hours' worth of solar energy by focusing mirrors onto millions of gallons of molten salt, allowing the plant to provide electricity 24 hours a day. The 150-megawatt plant will include 4.4 million gallons of molten salt. (PhysOrg; Nov. 5, 2009)
  • Solar Project Meets Bigger Foe Than Cloudy Skies: The US Air Force - On a vacant piece of land near Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the promise of solar energy has collided into the demands of military training. And a solar project by SolarReserve that would have featured a vast field of mirrors, a molten-salt storage facility and a 600-foot "power tower" appears to be heading for defeat. (Washington Post; June 20, 2009)
  • Molten Salt Solar Plant - A Santa Monica-based energy firm, SolarReserve in association with rocket maker, Rocketdyne are planning to set up a plant to power around 100,000 homes. Heliostat mirrors reflect on a tower where salt is melted and stored for energy generation 24/7. (Alternative Energy News; June 2, 2009)

Solucar

  • 600-mirror Solar Tower in Seville Spain - First commercial concentrator station in Europe focuses sunlight onto water pipes at the top of a 40-storey concrete tower, which drives a turbine to generate 11 megawatts of electricity. Thousands more mirrors will be added to further boost the output. (TreeHugger; May 4, 2007)

Sopogy

  • Sopogy Concentrated Solar - Recently named the "Venture Capital Deal of the Year," Sopogy specializes in MicroCSP solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package. (PESWiki; July 2, 2008)

Other

  • Solar > Concentrated >
    World Leader in Satellite Dishes Tunes to Solar - Andersen Manufacturing is coming back to solar and is looking for joint venture partners with receiver technologies that could be paired with their low-cost, high-accuracy, rapid-deploy dishes. (PESWIki; Oct. 4, 2008)
  • Spain Plugs In World's Largest Solar Tower - The world's largest solar tower has started generating electricity in Seville, Spain. The PS20 plant has a capacity of 20 MW and will be able to power 10,000 homes. The plant is made up of 1,255 mirrors, each taking up 1,291 square feet, that focus solar radiation on a 531-foot tower. The heat boils water in the tower which creates steam. The steam then turns a turbine, making electricity. (EcoGeek; Apr. 28, 2009)
  • Flagsol Develops New Solar Collector - Flagsol has developed a new line of parabolic trough collectors that will reduce the cost by 15%-20%. The company hopes that solar thermal energy will be able to compete without subsidies in a few years. (Renewable Energy Access; Feb. 6, 2008)
  • Parabolic Trough Technology - The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created a new website, "TroughNet." Currently parabolic trough solar technology offers the lowest cost solar electric option for large power plant applications. TroughNet is a technical resource that offers information about the various components of a solar trough. ('The Energy Blog; Apr. 12, 2007)
  • Ausra thinks big with solar storage - Ausra is testing a system to generate power at centralized stations using concentrating solar power to create steam that turns a turbine to make electricity. It also stores hot water that a power plant can draw on during times when the sun is not shining, reducing the cost to 8 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to 12 cents for natural gas. (CNET News; May 16, 2007)
  • DOE Selects SkyFuel to Develop CSP - SkyFuel was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop its advanced Concentrating Solar Power system known as the Linear Power Tower for utility-scale solar thermal power plants. LPT is a high-temperature linear Fresnel system with molten salt storage. (Renewable Energy Access; Dec. 4, 2007)
  • HelioDynamics - The HD solar concentrators use mirror banks which concentrate solar radiation onto a receiver unit to produce heat or a combination of heat-and-power. They are designed to be mounted on roofs, on parking lots and in open-field sites.
  • Home-Heating Mirrors - A new company called Practical Solar uses mirrors to focus sunlight where you want it via a computer-controlled heliostat system. One application would be to focus it on your home to keep it warm in the winter. (EcoGeek; March 20, 2009)

Concentrating Solar Light Systems

  • GreenShift's CO2 Bioreactor - Patented process uses algae to consume greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fueled power plants, giving off pure oxygen and water vapor. Light from concentrated solar panels is conducted into the algae chambers via fiber optics. Once the algae grows to maturity, it is harvested for conversion into ethanol and biodiesel fuels.

Do it Yourself

  • Shults' 6 kW Concentrated Solar System - Technology combines solar hot water panels with one large fresnel lens to flash the hot water to steam for running a turbine to generate 6 kW of electricity, all for around $6,000, with an ROI of 3-5 years. (PESWiki; Jan. 22, 2008)

Other types of solar concentrators

  • Harnessing sunlight on the cheap- A team of students, led by mechanical engineering graduate student Spencer Ahrens, are assembling a prototype for a concentrating solar power system they think could revolutionize the field. It's a 12-foot-square mirrored dish capable of concentrating sunlight by a factor of 1,000, built from simple, inexpensive industrial materials selected for price, durability and ease of assembly rather than for optimum performance. (Physorg; May 7, 2008)
  • Los Alamos Renewable Energy - Solar Reduction of Carbon Dioxide (SOLAREC™) produces fuel while simultaneously producing electricity from solar energy, at a cost competitive with fossil fuel generated power. The fuel can be burned at night to produce power 24/7 with no environmentally harmful by-products. The process has an over-all efficiency of nearly 48%.
  • Menova Energy - The Power-Spar® solar concentrator can be configured for electricity, heat, cooling and/or lighting solutions. It consists of a parabolic trough reflector which concentrates the sun's energy onto a modular absorber. Capable of capturing up to 80% of the sun's energy, Power-Spar systems can reduce building energy bills by as much as 70%.
  • Zinc Powder will drive your hydrogen car - Method concentrates solar energy for producing zinc, which may be stored and shipped, and then deployed for hydrogen release on demand. Said to be clean, safe and inexpensive; developed by a cooperation of scientists from Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and France. (Isracast; Sept. 9, 2005)

Concentrating Solar Cells

  • AXT Manufactures and Distributes high-performance semiconductor substrates including III-V cells for major electronic and opto-electronic applications.
  • AzurSpace - Triple Junction Cells on Ge Substrate for Concentrations up to 1000x. Supplier for systems commercially available from SOL3G
  • Emcore Emcore has the record for high volume production cells at 39% efficiency[2] This was achieved using triple junction concentrator cells at 1000x concentration
  • PhotoVolt - Vertical Multi-Junction (VMJ™) solar cells make photovoltaic power systems that are cost-competitive with traditional fossil-fuel sources of electricity. A postage stamp size VMJ cell delivers 100 watts at 1000 suns.
  • SpectroLab Spectrolab has continued to produce world-record (terrestrial) concentrator cells, the latest of which is the 40.7% efficient cell in December 2006 (press release).

NGOs

  • The Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC) - an initiative of the Club of Rome. TREC is a group of scientists, engineers and politicians developing a collaboration amongst countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EUMENA) to take advantage of the truly enormous quantities of solar energy falling as sunlight on the world's hot deserts—and wind energy in those regions too.
  • TREC-UK - a group of volunteers, mainly in the UK, who are interested in the concepts developed by TREC and aim to raise awareness of those concepts in the UK and beyond.

In the News

  • Spire matches world record for solar cell efficiency - Spire Semiconductor, LLC, has matched the current efficiency record for a concentrator solar cell on a production ready cell with a photo area of 1.0 cm2. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) measured the efficiency of 41.0% at 500x suns concentrated sunlight. (Energy Harvesting Journal; June 18, 2010)
  • New rays of hope for solar power's future - “Concentrating solar is pretty hot right now", says Mark Mehos, program manager for CSP at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Co. “Costs look pretty good compared to natural gas [power]. Public policy, climate concern, and new technology are driving it, too." (Yahoo News; Aug. 23, 2008)
  • EMCORE Receives a $24 Million Purchase Order for Concentrator Solar Cells from Green and Gold Energy - EMCORE Corporation has been awarded a follow-on production order from Green and Gold Energy (GGE) for 3 million solar cells for use in GGE's SunCube(TM) terrestrial concentrator system. This 105 MW purchase order represents the largest procurement of concentrator solar cells in the industry to date and is a follow-on order to an initial 5 MW order placed earlier this year. All hardware ordered under this contract is to be shipped by the end of 2008.
  • Emcore achieves 39% efficiency in high volume production - EMCORE Corporation announced today that it has attained a record 39% conversion efficiency under 1000x concentrated illumination on its multi-junction solar cell products currently in high volume production. These solar cells are for terrestrial Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) applications(biz.yahoo.com; Aug. 6, 2007)
  • 42.8% Solar Cell Efficiency Using a novel technology that adds multiple innovations to a very high-performance crystalline silicon solar cell platform, a consortium led by the University of Delaware (UD) has achieved a record-breaking combined solar cell efficiency of 42.8 percent. (www.renewableenergyaccess.com July 30, 2007) There is a paper describing what they did at http://www.cis.udel.edu/~honsberg/Refs/50percent-hawaii.pdf
  • Intermediate band solar cell up to 63% efficient - While still largely theoretical, intermediate band solar cells could promise efficiencies up to 63.2%, higher than today's highest performing multijunction cells (40%). To be cost effective, the design will only be applicable in highly concentrated sunlight applications, suited to utility-grade solar power. (Inside Greentech; Jun. 21, 2007)
  • Solar thermal energy making a comeback - Nevada Solar One, a 64-megawatt power plant outside of Las Vegas, has begun to supply electric power to the grid, Acciona Solar Power, which owns and built the plant, said on Wednesday. (CNET News.com June 7, 2007)
  • Solar Power at Half the Cost - Soliant Energy has designed a solar concentrator that combines both lenses and mirrors in a compact roof-mounted system that tracks the sun, focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material. They can be made at half the cost of conventional solar panels and are set to start shipping later this year. (MIT Technology Review; May 11, 2007)
  • 64MW Solar Installation About To Be Switched On! - Nevada Solar One is one of the world's largest solar installations, and will generate 64 megawatts when it goes live next month in Boulder City, Nevada. It covers 300 acres and contains 760 mirror arrays, each measuring about 100 meters. The mirrors direct sunlight onto an oil-filled tube which creates steam to turn a turbine. (TreeHugger; Mar. 16, 2007)
    • Solar thermal energy making a comeback - Nevada Solar One, the first solar thermal power plant built in the world in 16 years, has begun to supply electric power to the Nevada grid. Similar and larger plants are being constructed in California's Mojave Desert, where an existing solar thermal plant has been cranking out electricity for over 20 years. (CNET News; Jun. 7, 2007)
  • Balloon technology cuts solar cost 90% - Cool Earth Solar could make solar energy cheaper than coal within 3 years using inflatable solar PV concentrators suspended above farmland. The company hopes to cut the cost of electricity in a 1 MW installation to 29 cents per watt by 2010, with limited environmental impact. (Mongabay; Feb. 21, 2007)
  • SolFocus: A Sharper Focus for Photovoltaics - A California startup, CA-based startup SolFocus, with strong venture backing, says it can slash the cost of solar power with its concentrator technology. They employ quarter-sized mirrors that focus sunlight on photovoltaic "dots" just one millimeter square. (MIT Technology Review; Aug. 2, 2006)

Projects

  • Nevada Solar One - The site takes up about 300 acres and contains 760 mirror arrays measuring about 100 meters each. Roughly 184,000 mirrors are installed at Solar One, a [64-megawatt] solar thermal plant located near Boulder City, Nev. The mirrors direct sunlight on an oil-filled tube. The oil is then used to create steam, which turns a turbine. (YouTube) (The Energy Blog,; March 14, 2007)
  • Solar Powered Thermal Parabolic Trough Power Plant Dedicated - The 1 MW Saguaro Solar Generating Station uses rows of parabolic mirrors to focus the sun’s rays onto SCHOTT PTR 70® receivers, enabling the generation of clean electricity. It is the nation's first solar thermal parabolic trough power plant built specifically to produce electricity since 1988. Source: Arizona Public Service Co.

Research and Development

  • Solar > Concentrated
    Intensifying the Sun - Marc Baldo's glass sheets act as waveguides, channeling light in the same way that fiber-optic cables transmit optical signals over long distances. [This concentrator technology is very early in its development. Adding this extra layer results in lower total output, not more.] (TechTV.MIT Video (MIT Technology Review; Sept. - Oct. 2008)

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