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Soitec solar-energy module efficiency “highest of any commercial module”

Soitec says that its new concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) module has a record power-generating efficiency of 31.8%, the highest efficiency of any commercial product available for multi-megawatt installations.

Soitec's CX-M500 module has an anti-reflective coating and can increases nominal peak power output over previous generations from 2,335 Wp to 2,450 Wp. 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.

"With this new product, Soitec is continuing to raise the bar for solar-power efficiency and, looking ahead, the potential for further improvement is significant," said Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president 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. With our newest commercial modules and their higher efficiencies, we are delivering on our cost-competitiveness roadmap."

The new module also 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.

Each Soitec 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 solar cells beneath. The cells are precisely mounted on the bottom plate, enabling the focused sunbeam to align perfectly with the tiny solar cells. In constructing its modules, Soitec uses elements from the circuit board and dual pane window industries.

Soitec's tracker-based CPV systems are designed to build high-capacity solar-power plants with low construction and maintenance costs. They can significantly improve the levelised cost of electricity (LCoE) for mid-sized to very large solar-power plants, it says.

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Energy efficiency  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity

 

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