Sunflower Highly Concentrated Photovoltaic
Energy Innovations, manufacturer of high concentration solar modules and systems, has announced that its latest generation Sunflower module has achieved a world leading 29% conversion efficiency – almost double the average efficiency of flat plate PV systems.
This significant achievement represents the culmination of substantial research and development work across a broad range of disciplines including advanced optics designs, cell thermal management, tracking systems design, and automated robotic assembly techniques. Only with a fully integrated system approach, as employed in the Sunflower Highly Concentrated PV (HCPV) system, can this type of world-leading performance be achieved.
Energy Innovations’ Sunflower HCPV system makes solar more cost-effective, more powerful, and a smart investment. “Achieving this world-leading efficiency is another example of the advantages our proprietary HCPV architecture provides,” said Joe Budano, CEO of Energy Innovations. “We are now starting to see real commercial products delivering on the promise of CPV, for today and into the future.”
Even with this remarkable result, there are still many improvements on the horizon. Energy Innovations’ Sunflower system uses proprietary silicone on glass (SoG) Fresnel lenses and advanced secondary optics to focus the sun 1,200:1 onto high efficiency triple junction cells. Current generation triple junction cells operate at greater than 38% efficiency. For example, Spectrolab, an Energy Innovations supplier, recently announced a 41.6% efficient triple junction cell that will further enhance the performance of our Sunflower system.
“The rapidly increasing performance of triple junction cells in combination with Energy Innovation’s aggressive cost down program is the multiplier effect that substantially reduces our installed dollar per Watt,” added Gregg Bone, CTO of Energy Innovations. “This clearly demonstrates how our Sunflower HCPV technology will offer lower cost of energy compared with traditional Thin Film and crystalline silicon PV over the long term.”
This significant milestone in module efficiency was achieved while tracking the sun on EI’s fully integrated 2-axis tracking system. Sunflower’s advanced optics allow for a remarkable +/- 0.9 degrees of acceptance angle, another industry first. Large acceptance angles make tracking systems less complicated and lower cost while producing more power even in high winds. This represents another significant accomplishment given Sunflower’s high 1,200:1 concentration ratio. Typical lower concentration CPV systems employ 500:1 concentration.
Energy Innovations’ new high efficiency system has been submitted to Underwriters Laboratories for UL and IEC certification.
Founded in 2001 at Idealab, Energy Innovations, Inc. has pioneered the development of Highly Concentrated PV (HCPV) as a means to reduce the cost of solar energy. Today, Energy Innovations has developed the world’s highest concentration, most efficient and lowest cost HCPV system. By taking a holistic approach to system design, EI integrates the Sunflower 29% efficient module, 2-axis tracker, mounting structure and primary wiring, significantly reducing installation time and total installed costs. In this way, Energy Innovations has created the lowest LCOE solar solution available today.
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