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CPV Technology
Home Technology

CPV Technology

Current techniques for photovoltaic conversion of sunlight into power prevalent in India and elsewhere in the world have been flat panel (silicon cells), thin film (Cd-Te) and solar thermal. CPV has been around as science since the early 70s but has established its commercial viability elsewhere in the world only recently. There is neither a large CPV implementation in India nor any effort to develop or localise imported technology to Indian conditions; there however has been an announcement last month of a tie-up between a leading US CPV player and an Indian corporate for execution of CPV projects on EPC basis.

Flat panel and thin film have net conversion efficiencies of 13%-15% and 8%-12% respectively. Technology forecasting indicates that there is not much scope for dramatic improvements in delivered efficiencies using these technologies. On the other hand, CPV has reached a cell level efficiency of a little over 43% and net efficiencies in excess of 27%. On current reckoning, CPV due to scope for continuous advances in technology is perceived to be the only technique that will deliver diminishing cost per kWh and in all likelihood match the grid tariff (ultimately dispensing with Feed-In-Tariff incentives).

In CPV technology, the primary factors that lead to lower cost/kWh include high geometric concentration ratio to dramatically reduce semiconductor material and boost cell efficiency, high optical efficiency using engineered concentrator optics, highly automated assembly processes, passive heat dissipation without expensive heat sinks, high efficiency due to multi-junction semi conductors (III-V compound cells). And last but not the least contributor to the high efficiency and therefore lower cost/kWh is the ‘dual axis’ tracker that maximizes the energy harvested throughout the day

 

What is Concentrator Photovoltaics (CPV)?

The idea is to use inexpensive optics to concentrate sunlight on a small and very efficient solar cell that is 1/400th to1/1000th the area of the focusing optics.

Figure shows a Fresnel lens concentrating light on a solar cell. 1b shows a mirror set concentrating sunlight on a solar cell

Cell area reduced is reduced significantly. Thus the system remains economical even though comparatively expensive cells are used.

This becomes a modular system and there is a possibility of upgrading system components during the lifetime of the system to improve yield.

A the comparison of sizes between a standard silicon cell and a CPV cell for the same power output

 

CPV System components

A CPV receiver showing a cell mounted on an Alumina DBC (Direct Bonded Copper) substrate.

 

A CPV module has many CPV receivers and the optics, to concentrate sunlight on the CPV receivers

Current techniques for photovoltaic conversion of sunlight into power prevalent in India and elsewhere in the world have been flat panel (silicon cells), thin film (Cd-Te) and solar thermal. CPV has been around as science since the early 70s but has established its commercial viability elsewhere in the world only recently. There is neither a large CPV implementation in India nor any effort to develop or localise imported technology to Indian conditions.

Flat panel and thin film have net conversion efficiencies of 13%-15% and 8%-12% respectively. Technology forecasting indicates that there is not much scope for dramatic improvements in delivered efficiencies using these technologies.  On the other hand, CPV has reached a cell level efficiency of a little over 43% and net efficiencies in excess of 27%. On current reckoning, CPV, due to scope for continuous advances in technology, is perceived to be the only technology that will deliver diminishing cost per kWh and in all likelihood match the grid tariff (ultimately dispensing with Feed-In-Tariff incentives).

In CPV technology, the primary factors that lead to lower cost/kWh include high geometric concentration ratio to dramatically reduce semiconductor material and boost cell efficiency, high optical efficiency using engineered concentrator optics, highly automated assembly processes, passive heat dissipation without expensive heat sinks, high efficiency due to multi-junction semi conductors (III-V compound cells). And last but not the least contributor to the high efficiency and therefore lower cost/kWh is the ‘dual axis’ tracker that maximizes the energy harvested throughout the day.

Contact Us

Chroma Energy Pvt. Ltd.

397/6, Senapati Bapat Road 
Gokhale Nagar Signal
Pune - 411 016 
Maharashtra, India

Phone : 091-20-25659413
Fax      : +91-20-25650564
Email  : info@chromaenergy.in