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Content archived on 2024-04-19

European concentrated light intensity development of energy sources


The goal of this project is design all the components of a system to generate electricity by the photovoltaic effect using a large area optical collector to focus sunlight onto a small area solar cell. The system is to be designed so that a collector and solar assembly are capable of being manufactured in volume at a cost of 161.4 ECU/m2 of aperture area with an incident energy to electricity conversion efficiency of 17.3% which will give an electricity production cost of 0.08 ECU/kWh. in the climate of Madrid. At least one functioning prototype system will be implemented.

Cost studies have shown that large concentrating systems have the highest potential to produce photovoltaic electricity in Europe at close to fossil fuel generation costs. The potential of such systems has been relatively ignored in Europe yet all the skills exist in component manufacture and design expertise for such systems to be constructed in Europe. Investigations will be undertaken to specify and prove the design of the three major components of a photovoltaic concentrating system. These are the optical concentrating element, the photovoltaic receiver and the supporting structure which enables the optical element to track the sun. The preferred optical concentrating element is the parabolic mirror which is manufactured in Europe in high volume for solar thermal applications. The suitability of this mirror for solar PV use will be evaluated and if necessary alternatives will be proven. Solar cells are already well developed under the JOULE 11 MONOCHESS programme and methods of encapsulation and the design of the heat sink will be accomplished in the project. The design of the tracking structure will be a modification of the system already in use at the Toledo 1 MWp facility. In addition alternative low cost systems for small remote site power systems for the Developing World will be evaluated as will methods of reducing reflection from the metallisation of the solar cells.
A prototype system to the optimised design will constructed and its performance evaluated against the cost criteria in the project goals. A successful development could be used in power generation in Europe particularly in the Mediterranean countries.

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United Kingdom

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Participants (3)