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Content archived on 2024-05-23

Industrialisation of ultra-flat concentrator module of high-efficiency ('INFLATCOM')


Objectives and problems to be solved: A photovoltaic concentration system suitable for electricity mass production is presented. Predicted cost for the installed system with present solar cell technology is below the medium term target of 3 Euro/Wp established in the thematic priority 5.2.3 (Energies Sub-Programme). Based on III-V solar cell technology and very high concentration the potential of the system for future improvements is very high. Description of work: The specific goal of this project is to achieve 1 kWp of commercial highly modular ultra-flat modules at about 2.8 Euro/Wp for the installed system (after a 10 MW cumulated production). It is planned to fabricate industrial prototypes formed by 25% efficient GaAs cells operating at 1,000 suns with concentrators of some 10 cam of area that will be very flat. Concentrators will have a large angular acceptance of ±1.5º to allow for a cheap construction and tracking requirements. Mosaics of such small concentrators will form the modules with an expected overall efficiency of 18-20%. The 1 kWp PV field should be composed of several modules, each one containing several single concentrators. In a first step, the concentrator GaAs solar cell is bonded to an alumna PCB (or similar heat conducting material) from which p- and n- connections are available. Then, each single unit is assembled on a passive heat sink. The optical concentrator as a block is attached to a flat glass that will be the aperture and will act as mechanical supersaturates. Finally, the GaAs solar cell with its heat sink is attached at the bottom of the concentrator. Small size of the solar cells and concentrators are key characteristics of this approach. It increases efficiency and cell manufacturing yield, simplifies cooling, reduces the concentrator cost and increases modularity. Using LED's standard assembling techniques compatible with the cost level intended in this project will solve the assembly cost concern of this approach. Additionally, the small size of the concentrator, and thus of the basic module, will allow for a highly modular concentrator, one of the traditional advantages of the flat panels. This might be of great interest for the start up of the concentration market, jeopardised by the large size of the minimum modules required so far by concentrators. Thus, the product to be developed here is not to be restricted to the market of large plants but can be used in small stand alone installations as well. The consortium formed will cover all the required aspects: GaAs solar cell fabrication, optics, opt electronics and encapsulation techniques, PV modules fabrication and commercialisation. Expected Results and Exploitation Plans: A fully commercial photovoltaic system at 2.8 Euro/Wp is expected in the framework of this project (after 10 MW cumulated production). Achieving this low cost the market growth will be explosive not only in long term but also in the short to medium term. A real and cost-competitive mass production of photovoltaic electricity will dawn. Additionally, this concept has potential for further improvements based on tandem cells (or other high efficiency approach).

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Calle Caleta de Velez 52, Pol Ind. Santa Teresa

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Participants (4)