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8 October 2013

Semprius supplies lightweight record-breaking solar module to power Nuon entry at World Solar Challenge

Semprius Inc of Durham, NC, USA, which designs and makes high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar modules, says it has delivered a specially designed lightweight version of its record-breaking solar module to the Nuon Solar Team to help power the team’s Nuna7 solar car entry at the World Solar Challenge 2013.

In September, Semprius announced a new record for mass-produced photovoltaic module efficiency at 35.5%, which the firm says is two to three times more efficient than conventional photovoltaic modules. Semprius’ design couples solar cells as small as the head of a pin with established semiconductor and microelectronic manufacturing processes to deliver highly efficient, reliable, cost-competitive modules.

Taking place this week in Australia, the World Solar Challenge race covers 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide. Competitors include 40 teams from 29 countries. Only solar energy can be used to power the cars.

The Nuon Solar Team is a group of 16 engineering students from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The team has been competing in the World Solar Challenge for the past 12 years, winning the competition in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 and finishing second in 2009 and 2011.

Earlier this year, the Nuon Solar Team approached Semprius hoping to leverage the firm’s record module efficiency and compact module design for the 2013 race. A key challenge, however, was to reduce module weight as much as possible to meet the requirements of the race that limit each team to a total weight of 160kg. Semprius modified its standard commercial modules to reduce their weight by 60%. Changes included substituting Semprius’ standard front cover glass with a thinner, lightweight glass sheet and replacing Semprius’ steel module enclosures with carbon fiber.

Because Semprius modules must be pointed directly at the sun to generate electricity, the modules cannot be used while the car is in motion. During the race, however, there are mandatory 30 minute breaks every 300km. During these breaks, the Semprius modules will be deployed on manual trackers to capture extra energy for the Nuna7. Jorrit Vervoordeldonk, technical manager of the Nuon Solar Team, calculates that by using Semprius’ modules, it should be possible to decrease the team’s overall racing time by one hour.

“We are very excited to use Semprius’ innovative, ultra-high efficiency solar modules,” said Vervoordeldonk. “Delivering approximately 30 watts per kilogram with a thickness less than 7cm, we hope that Semprius’ modules can provide us with an extra advantage that will help us win this year.”

“While we are primarily focused on commercial and utility-scale applications, this new design provides us with a lightweight, ruggedized capability for specialized military and other applications,” says Semprius’ VP of business development Russell Kanjorski. “We feel privileged to be able to work with the Nuon Solar Team this year and wish them the best of luck during the race.”

Tags: Semprius CPV

Visit: www.worldsolarchallenge.org

Visit: www.nuonsolarteam.nl

Visit: www.semprius.com

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