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Solar & Alternative Energy

Adam Plesniak: Sun-tracking, concentrating systems boost PV efficiency

The record-setting CPV technology behind the Alamosa Solar project in Colorado offers utilities a viable option in hot, dry climates.

19 February 2014, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201402.01

Adam Plesniak is Director of Research and Development at Amonix, Inc., in Seal Beach, CA. His team is responsible for generating, incubating and integrating new technology into the Amonix product line. The R&D group at Amonix currently holds the world record for PV module efficiency at 35.9% at CSTC as verified by NREL in 2013. He also serves as chair of the SPIE Optics + Photonics conference on Low and High Concentrator Systems for Solar Energy Applications.

Previously, he was Engineering and Design Lead at Boeing Phantomworks where his team developed the Boeing XR700 Photovoltaic Concentrator under contract from the DOE Solar Energy Technology Program. The XR700 was the first concentrator module to break 28% efficiency with greater than 800x concentration and +/- 2 degree acceptance angle. The technology was subsequently licensed to a private company outside of Boeing for continued development and commercialization.

Plesniak has an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Amonix, Inc. manufactures concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) commercial solar power systems designed for installation in sunny and dry climates. CPV systems convert sunlight into electrical energy in the same way that conventional solar photovoltaic technology does, except that they use optical concentrators to focus the solar radiation before the light is absorbed by solar cells. According to a comparative study of energy production of solar technologies, CPV systems require no water for energy production and produce more energy per megawatt (MW) installed than traditional PV systems. Amonix has nearly 70 Megawatts(DC) of CPV solar power systems deployed globally, including the southwestern U.S. and Spain.