Lower-cost Concentrating Photovoltaic Systems Using III-V Cells (III-V CPV)

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Electronic, Electrical & Systems Enginee


The objective of the project as a whole is to generate a novel concentrating photovoltaic device which will deliver a step change in the cost per kWh over conventional technology. This does not only require an increase in the efficiency, which will be delivered by the other partners in this project, but also an increase in energy yield, which will be ensured and quantified by this research team. To deliver an increase in energy yield requires answering the following scientific questions:1. how does a III-V multijunction operate under realistic operating conditions?2. how durable are the units?These will be answered by this research team. The first question requires the development of a model for the performance of the devices. This will be based on existing models for the operation of multi-junction devices, developed by CREST, which will be extended to include concentrating photovoltaics and the effects of tracker accuracy. This will be required against data of realistic operation of the prototypes as delivered by Whitfield Solar. These prototypes will be installed into CREST's bespoke monitoring system and operated for a period of 12 months. This data will then be used for the validation of the energy model derived. The energy yield will be the input of CREST into the economical assessment of the novel devices.The second question is even more crucial, as the prices per generated kWh depends exponentially on the durability of the devices. CREST will implement parts of the durability testing (damp-heat, thermal cycling and humidity freeze), but will also review the realistic operation of the devices in the target markets in the Sun-belt, which will be based on the modelling of the performance and meteorological data-sets. This will allow to adjust e.g. the maximum temperature to be evaluated as this might be higher then the temperature used for environmental testing. The thermal cycling and damp heat tests will be adjusted to reflect this realistic operation and durability will be tested, to ensure reliability in realistic operation.The scientific work will be feeding into standard development, as internationally work is focussing on the development of a qualification test for concentrator photovoltaic and work on edition 2 has already started. There is also ongoing work on the energy yield of photovoltaics which will be extended to allow for concentrating photovoltaics devices.
Description The objective of the project as a whole was to generate a novel concentrating photovoltaic device which will deliver a step change in the cost per kWh over conventional technology. CREST's role within this was to

- carry out qualification measurements of devices and modules. A series of environmental stress tests has been carried out to verify that the chosen designs will withstand the realistic operating conditions. No major observations have to be reported, any failures were addressed during the design stage.

- predict energy yield. It showed that the modelling of concentrated PV systems is too simplified and a much more detailed approach needs to be done. A detailed stochiastic model has been developed.
Exploitation Route through the industrial partners in the project through the industrial partners in the project
Sectors Energy

Description The findings have been used largely in academic terms by publishing in high quality journals. The industry unfortunately underwent a significant change in terms of industrial players and all industrialists involved in this project have unfortunately ceased to exist.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services