For a while concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) looked like an interesting alternative to regular photovoltaic solar panels. Then the cost of silicon PV dropped significantly making CPV technology comparatively more costly. Many companies in the CPV industry disappeared shortly after launching but now Arzon Solar is planning to give it another go. Perhaps because some are anticipating that CPV will be more cost-competitive by the end of the decade.
Arzon purchased the assets of Amonix, Inc. in 2014. Amonix was one of the leading CPV companies before lower PV prices made CPV comparatively more expensive. As such Arzon now has CPV roots as far back as 1989.
The company launched its new “Universal Module” or uModule last week. The device, according to the company, boasts a 30 percent conversion efficiency. The company said the 2.7 kilowatt device is the highest efficiency and highest power commercially available PV module in the world. Each uModule has 360 high-efficiency PV cells and fresnel lenses. Each lens focusses and concentrates sunlight on a cell, enhancing its ability to absorb sunlight.
The new uModule is about 7 feet tall by almost 17 feet wide. “Before uModule, CPV products and companies were mainly interested in servicing utility scale customers despite having clear energy density, land sensitivity, and performance advantages in nearly every niche of the solar market. We designed the uModule platform to work seamlessly with different Arzon Solar systems, from 5.5 kW to 33.2 kW, as well as third-party tracking solutions,” said Adam Plesniak, vice president of Engineering at Arzon Solar.
As such, the system is designed to be more flexible than other CPV systems, which used specific trackers and specifically sized CPV sizes. However, Arzon also is offering pre-configured systems like the uM2 and the uM6, which consist of 2 uModules and 6 uModules, respectively. The company also is offering the 8700, a legacy device that was offered by Amonix. The 8700 is a 49 foot by 72 foot CPV array that produces 70 kilowatts of solar power.
“This is the tipping point to bring CPV from the upstream to the mainstream,” said Vahan Garboushian, Chief Executive Officer of Arzon Solar.
Arzon anticipated that the company can begin delivering uModule in the third quarter of 2015. The company will manufacture the systems in the U.S.Tweet