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CPV technology breakthrough claimed by Southwest Solar Technologies

Southwest Solar Technologies (SST) says it has made “significant advances” in concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology that will lead to “major competitive advantages” in the market.

The company’s CPV design overcomes the limitations of current utility-scale PV, CPV and CSP systems, providing added flexibility and value, higher efficiency and lower cost, suggests its CEO Brad Forst. Its CPV semi-dense array modules, now undergoing on-sun testing in Phoenix, Arizona, are equipped with integrated optics, thermal management, power conversion and data collection.

According to SST, the modules are capable of operating with non-uniform flux (concentrated sunlight) by using a novel approach in secondary optics and power conversion. This enables, for the first time, CPV modules to be integrated with a range of solar dish sizes and tower/heliostat collectors without the use of water, thereby providing an alternative to steam and other generators, it explains.

In addition, the system is equipped with dual axis tracking for greater capacity along with CPV cells that are capable of 40% efficiency. “Lower cost per kWh will result from a design focus on low cost components and manufacturing processes,” it adds.

The system also uses active liquid cooling which enables by-product heat to be used in combined heat and power applications for on-site thermal requirements. This therefore provides a dual solar energy capacity for distributed general applications such as steam and domestic heat.

Written by Robin Whitlock 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling