Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Focus on solar energy systems for buildings

An EU-funded project has developed an innovative compound parabolic concentrator (CPC) system for concentrating solar energy for application in solar cells. This system has a potentially large market in the construction industry worldwide.
Focus on solar energy systems for buildings
The building sector accounts for about 40 % of Europe's total energy consumption. Therefore, using solar energy applications in buildings — photovoltaic (PV) and solar water heating — can significantly contribute to Europe's target of cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

With this in mind, the project 'A novel lens-walled compound parabolic concentrator PV / thermal system' (LENS-WALLED CPC), funded by the EU, was established. The proposed CPC system would have a larger acceptance angle for concentrating solar radiation compared to a normal CPC of the same geometrical concentration ratio.

Researchers designed an array of mini-lens–walled CPCs that give the appearance of a flat panel. This reduces the size or the number of PV modules by up to four times compared with current installations, with better overall electricity and thermal performance.

The project has published 11 research papers and, through the use of a computer model and modelling results, has developed and constructed a prototype system. This novel CPC system has successfully undergone testing and monitoring. It has proved very suitable and advantageous for both residential and commercial building applications not only in Europe but on a global scale too.

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