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Solar firm advances CPV technology

Collaboration to develop array module aims to commercialise technology used with CSP

The technology can be used with heliostat collectors designed for CSP
The technology can be used with heliostat collectors designed for CSP

A US firm has announced a collaboration to drive the commercialisation of its innovative concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar power technology, which can be used with concentrated solar power (CSP).

Arizona firm Southwest Solar Technologies’ CPV product combines advanced high efficiency multi-junction solar cells with innovative approaches in concentrator optics, power electronics, and efficient manufacturing. The design incorporates a unique solar flux management capability that enables non-uniform light intensity to be used. This makes it possible to use the CPV product with either dish or heliostat collectors designed for CSP.

This CPV advancement is part of Southwest Solar’s integrated development plan centered on the Company’s solar dish concentrator, the largest commercial solar dish in North America. The Company previously announced the successful proof of concept testing of its integrated Dish concentrator and air-based open cycle turbine to produce electricity.

Southwest Solar has signed a Joint Development Agreement with firm MaxQ Power Conversion LLC, an affiliate of MaxQ Technology LLC of Tempe, Arizona. Under the Agreement, the parties will cooperate to develop and manufacture Southwest Solar’s patent pending dense array CPV module that packages numerous multi-junction photovoltaic cells into a compact, high concentration, solar power generation module where a solar concentration ratio of 1200-times is achieved.

Southwest Solar said: “Extremely high energy flows from this concentration can cause heating that can reduce solar cell performance. To manage this thermal intensity, the system utilises a closed loop liquid cooling system in the form of an advanced cold plate technology.”

This “cold plate technology” developed by MaxQ, is currently successfully used in high power electronic conversion systems in the electric vehicle and inverter industries.