Spain sets the benchmark for the concentrated photovoltaic industry worldwide
Mar 27, 2009 - Energycentral.com
The Concentrated Photovoltaic industry has excited scientists worldwide because of the opportunities it provides to produce cheap energy in large quantities, using relatively simple technology. Currently Spain is the world leader in Concentrated Photovoltaic and is the point of reference for other countries to follow in this sector. In order to maintain this leadership and create a solid industrial infrastructure, an economic stimulus is required such as that given to the thermo-solar energy sector.
“Highly concentrated CPV represents an important technological leap, as it is very different to traditional photovoltaic panels. For this reason we can argue that a CPV specific feed-in tariff is necessary”. According to Belén Gallego, from CPV Today, “The CPV industry in Spain is led by the Institute of Photovoltaic Concentration Systems (ISFOC) and the government of Castilla La Mancha with scientific support from the Institute of Solar Energy. These organisations have seen how the thermo-solar energy tariff helped to create a strong industry which is competitive internationally, and many hope that the same support will be given to CPV as it is a key source of energy for the future.
CPV Today has organised a summit on Concentrated Photovoltaic in Toledo on the 28th and 29th April. Over 400 people are expected to attend and there will be interactive working discussion groups on the subject of the CPV feed-in tariff.
Ignacio Luque Heredia, industry expert and chairman of the second Concentrated Photovoltaic Summit has stated that, “Modern developments in CPV based on ultra high concentration and the use of new 3rd generation cells which will soon reach efficiencies greater than 50%, have the potential to transform this type of Photovoltaic into an important component in the future energy mix, allowing it to compete with traditional sources of electricity production.
“As the long-standing world leader in Concentrated Photovoltaic and highly efficient cells, Spain is in an advantageous position to be able to successfully develop this new energy concept. Providing the right policies are in place Spain could become one of the foremost promoters of the sector, not only at a scientific level but also at a technological and industrial level” said Ignacio Luque Heredia.
A recent report by CPV today, in collaboration with experts from the University of Jaen, reached very encouraging conclusions about the medium and long-term prospects for the Concentrated Photovoltaic industry.
The report found that the cost of CPV will go down by 62% before 2015 and that it could achieve grid parity by 2011. In addition, concentrated solar cells could reach 50% efficiency by 2015. As CPV uses up to 1775 times less semiconductor material than traditional Photovoltaic, it requires up to 33% less modular surface area than crystalline Photovoltaic with trackers, and 70% less surface area than thin-film in order to generate the same amount of electricity annually.
One of the main difficulties from a technological perspective, are the efficiency losses under concentrations of up to 1,000 times normal sun incident when this is directed onto the cell. The team which carried out the research for CPV today concluded that the loss of efficiency caused by high temperatures is 25% lower in CPV than in any other Photovoltaic technology, including thin-film.
Similarly to thermo-solar, CPV needs direct sunlight, so dry climates with high levels of direct sunlight are perfect for CPV. However, unlike thermo-solar, Concentrated Photovoltaic does not require a water supply.
CPV Today is running the Concentrated Photovoltaic Summit for the second time, which last year attracted over 375 experts from the industry. This year it will take place in Toledo on the 28th and 29th April, and will be followed by a visit to the Institute of Photovoltaic Concentration Systems (ISFOC).
About CPV Today
CPV Today, founded in London in 2008, aims to facilitate the creation of international forums to contribute to the evolution and commercial development of Concentrated Photovoltaic technology and its widespread implementation as a large-scale producer of electricity.
For more information about the 2nd Concentrated Photovoltaic Summit on the 28th and 29th April, followed by the visit to the ISFOC on the 30th April, and to see the list of speakers, attendees and agenda please visit www.cpvtoday.com/eu09/
Phone +44 207 3757555