Solar Power » Industry

Value Chain Activity: Concentrating PV Modules

CPV module manufacturers assemble the solar cells, concentrator unit and heat sink to form a module. Where applicable, companies will either integrate a tracking device or offer it as a separate product for free-standing module installations.

Industry Context

Barriers to entry


Barriers are reasonably low due to the fact that most materials and manufacturing processes are pretty standard, given that the cells are manufactured elsewhere.


 

Suppliers

Depending on the degree of concentration, the solar cell is either silicon-based or a multi-junction cell. If it is the latter, the cell will most likely be supplied by one of only 3 players.


 

Conclusion

This is a very promising technology. However, as a newcomer, it will need to demonstrate that it delivers significant improvements over other established pv technologies. As far as its application is concerned, it appears to be wedged in between concentrated solar thermal and flat photovolatics, which could prove to be an uncomfortable position.

Competition

As a rather recent technology (being commercialized), there are many new entrants, many of whom are venture-funded. There are of course some familiar names from other technologies such as Q-Cells (here under the disguise of "Sovello").

There is no dominant design as of yet. And it may never converge to just one, as different applications may dictate different concentration ratios. As of now, there is a high degree of product differentiation, as can be seen from our company list.

One of the leading companies is no doubt SolFocus which has an installed base of 5MW, with another 10MW being installed in Spain.

PV Cell
   

 

 

 

Substitutes

The main value proposition of cpv modules is lower cost of ownership than other photovoltaic technologies in clear and sunny locations. A further drop in silicon prices may threaten this presumption.

Company Details


Name Country Comments
High-Concentration CPV
Amonix USA 2-axis, 37% cell efficiency, 31% capacity factor 31%
Compound Solar Technology Taiwan High-concentration 600x fresnel lense. Also produces GaAs cell
Concentraction Solar La Mancha Spain High concentration 500x
Concentrix Solar Germany High concentratation system. Has 25MW production capacity. Spin-off from Fraunhofer institute
Cool Earth Solar USA High concentration 300-400x, balloon shaped modules. In development. Using triple junction cells, but want to move to silicon
Energy Innovations Inc USA "Sunflower" - CPV Technology with multijunction cell, high concentration, 2-axis tracking
EnFocus USA High concentration 300x. "Diamond Power" Series developed for roof-top including 2-axis tracking
Entech Solar USA High concentration, using silicon, low cost
ES System South Korea CPV modules with cells from Emcore (high concentration). Also crystalline pv
Everphoton Energy Copr Taiwan High- and low concentration CPV
GreenVolts USA High concentration, Now constructing 2MW plant
Guascor Foton Spain High concentration modules. Also system integrator.
Isofoton S.A. Spain Produces mono-crystalline modules. Now developing a high-concentration pv module (1000x). Also manufactures solar thermal collectors. 
Morgan Solar Canada "Light guide solar optic" technology allows 1,400x high concentration without being bulky with ultra-thin optical structures. No lenses, mirrors or prisms used!
Pyron Solar USA High concentration CPV with 2-axis tracking and proprietary lens system (similar to Fresnel point lens). Use water as a passive coolant.
Silicon CPV plc UK 120x concentrator in development
Sol3g S.L. Spain High concentration CPV systems with cells from AzurSpaces
SolFocus USA High concentration CPV (500x) Modules - to build 10MW plant in Spain. Have installation 5MW in Puertolino, Spain
Soliant USA VC-funded. High concentration CPV 500x for rooftop applications
Sunrgi USA Targeting a wholesale price or $/kWh 0.05. High concentration of > 1,600 with proprietary cooling technology. Requires 16 times less land than thin-film
Whitfield Solar UK CPV with built-in tracking mechanism targeted at both solar farms and roof-top applications. 
Low Concentration CPV
Covalent Solar USA Organic solar concentrator. No tracking or cooling required. Under development
Everphoton Energy Copr Taiwan High- and low concentration CPV
JX Crystals USA Low concentration CPV with 100kW demo production. Increasing by 300kW
Opel International Inc Canada Produces 1MW pa CPV modules. Low concentration with reflectors and high concentration with refractive optics
Prism Solar USA Low concentration CPV achieved through holographic film that diffracts light, which is then guided thru reflection to the pv element. No need for cooling or tracking.
Skyline Solar USA Low concentration CPV with single axis tracking, silicon cells, and linear reflectors.
Solaria USA 31.5% owned by Q-Cells. Low concentration CPV, silicon based (Q-Cells) cells, attached to optical front cover, cutting silicon requirement by 50%. Building 25MW capacity
Stellaris USA VC-funded. Low concentration CPV (3x) without tracking, but see-thru for bipv
Zytech Spain Also manufacturer of wind turbines. In CPV both low (2.25x) and medium concentration (120x)
Others
SV Solar USA VC-funded. Ceased operating!

Downloads: Download comprehensive list of manufacturers of concentrating photovoltaics modules.

References

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