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Proceedings Paper

Low concentrator PV optics optimization
Author(s): Leonard Sharp; Ben Chang
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Paper Abstract

Purpose: Cost reduction is a major focus of the solar industry. Thin film technologies and concentration systems are viable ways to reducing cost, with unique strengths and weakness for both. Most of the concentrating PV work focuses on high concentration systems for reducing energy cost. Meanwhile, many believe that low concentrators provide significant cost reduction potential while addressing the mainstream PV market with a product that acts as a flat panel replacement. This paper analyzes the relative benefit of asymmetric vs. symmetric optics for low-concentrators in light of specific PV applications. Approach: Symmetric and asymmetric concentrating PV module performance is evaluated using computer simulation to determine potential value across various geographic locations and applications. The selected optic design is modeled against standard cSi flat panels and thin film to determine application fit, system level energy density and economic value. Results: While symmetric designs may seem ideal, asymmetric designs have an advantage in energy density. Both designs are assessed for aperture, optimum concentration ratio, and ideal system array configuration. Analysis of performance across climate specific effects (diffuse, direct and circumsolar) and location specific effects (sunpath) are also presented. The energy density and energy production of low concentrators provide a compelling value proposition. More significantly, the choice of optics for a low concentrating design can affect real world performance. With the goal of maximizing energy density and return on investment, this paper presents the advantages of asymmetric optic concentration and illustrates the value of this design within specific PV applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7043, High and Low Concentration for Solar Electric Applications III, 70430G (9 September 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.795299
Show Author Affiliations
Leonard Sharp, SV Solar (United States)
Ben Chang, SV Solar (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7043:
High and Low Concentration for Solar Electric Applications III
Martha Symko-Davies, Editor(s)

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