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18 February 2014

Soitec launches higher-capacity version of off-grid CPV system

Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar system maker Soitec of Bernin, France has launched the Plug&Sun+, a new higher-capacity version of its off-grid concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) product Plug&Sun (launched in 2011).

The Plug&Sun+ can be coupled with batteries and/or a diesel generator to provide electricity 24/7 and is designed to address the needs of medium-scale solar-energy installations at remote sites with limited or no access to grid power. The new system is available now and already generating orders.

The firm says that the original Plug&Sun is a robust, reliable, easy-to-deploy CPV tracking system designed to meet the energy needs of small-scale isolated sites. The new, configurable Plug&Sun+ provides an enhanced mix of technical and economic performance. It uses three of Soitec’s latest generation of CPV modules - with a total surface area of 26.3m2 ─ and is linked to an energy management system, allowing peak-power output of 7.3kWp while providing hundreds of watts of power throughout the day and night. The system also can be configured with more than one dual-axis tracker. Additionally, when Plug&Sun+ is used in hybrid installations, it provides a renewable energy source that complements existing power generators. This can yield technical and economic benefits such as reducing diesel consumption and maintenance costs, says Soitec.

The Plug&Sun+ system is configurable to meet installation requirements for different applications including housing (lodges, houses, camps etc), industrial sites, outdoor lighting, water treatment (pumping, desalinization etc) and telecoms base-stations. Soitec has already received an order for its new system configured with two trackers from “a European leader in energy and information technology services” for a pilot installation that will supply electricity to a French city.

Soitec also continues to sell and support its original Plug&Sun system. This deployable power generating system is adapted to the needs of individual electricity generation, says the firm. In recent weeks, Plug&Sun systems have been ordered by a solar-project developer in Qatar (that will employ Soitec’s system for exterior lighting) and Logsys Power Services (an electrical installation and maintenance company in Australia and a new distributor of the Plug & Sun product line in that country). Logsys is currently using the product for a remote water-pumping application.

“The immediate customer demand for our newest flexible, configurable CPV system demonstrates the value of the Plug&Sun product portfolio as the most efficient solar generator of clean, off-grid electricity,” claims José Beriot, VP of solar projects development with Soitec’s Solar Energy Division. “Our new system also fits well with our strategic mission to be a leader in the off-grid energy market by spearheading the development of very efficient and robust CPV technology that is perfectly suited for remote regions with high solar radiation,” he adds.

Soitec’s CPV technology uses triple-junction cells mounted on a glass plate. Fresnel lenses, manufactured using silicone on glass, concentrate sunlight 500 times before it reaches the cells. A metal frame holds two glass plates to form what are described as highly robust, durable and resilient modules. By combining several modules on biaxial trackers (which use a proprietary algorithm to automatically optimize their position based on the path of the sun) Soitec’s technology maximizes energy generation throughout the day, the firm concludes.

See related items:

Soitec introduces portable CPV mini-tracker

Tags: Soitec CPV

Visit: www.soitec.com

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