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12 September 2013

Soitec launches CPV module with 31.8% efficiency

Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar system maker Soitec of Bernin, France has announced its newest concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) module featuring a record power-generating efficiency of 31.8%. The new module, which is already in industrial volume production, is claimed to have the highest efficiency of any commercial product available for multi-megawatt installations.

Using an optimized anti-reflective coating, Soitec’s CX-M500 module increases nominal peak power output over previous generations from 2335Wp to 2450Wp. The new module has been certified according to the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) and Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) standards (IEC 62108, IEC 62688, UL 62108 and UL SU 8703), confirming that it meets product safety, performance and reliability requirements in both the US and European markets.

“Looking ahead, the potential for further improvement is significant,” says Gaetan Borgers, executive VP of Soitec’s Solar Energy Division.“Based on our current work in solar-cell development, we are well positioned to achieve even higher module efficiencies in the near future,” he adds. “With our newest commercial modules and their higher efficiencies, we are delivering on our cost-competitiveness roadmap.”

Additionally, the new module complies with the California Solar Initiative, so power-plant installations using it can qualify for performance-based incentives from the California Energy Commission (CEC). The module also bears the CE mark, indicating its compliance with the relevant European Union directives, regulations and standards.

Using Soitec’s proven Concentrix technology, each CPV module comprises a Fresnel lens plate and a bottom plate on which high-performance solar cells are mounted. The Fresnel lenses focus sunlight concentrated by a factor of 500 on the cells beneath. The cells are precisely mounted on the bottom plate, enabling the focused sunbeam to align with the cells. In constructing its modules, Soitec uses elements from the circuit board and dual pane window industries, which are both cost effective and have been proven to be reliable over many years, says the firm.

The modules are used in assembling Soitec’s CPV systems. The firm’s tracker-based systems are designed to build high-capacity solar-power plants with low construction and maintenance costs, and can significantly improve the levelized cost of electricity (LCoE) for mid-sized to very large solar-power plants.

Soitec also recently announced the signature of a performance-warranty insurance contract with Munich Re, which should ease financing of solar projects using the firm’s CPV modules.

See related items:

Soitec Solar Division signs a performance-warranty insurance contract

Tags: Soitec CPV


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