Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV)
Increase Performance while reducing cost.
The next generation of solar power will use concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems. CPVs can be low-cost and use low concentration ratios. The interim technology will concentrate the sun several times and track the sun with simple polar mount tracking. Polar mount tracking (also known as Equatorial Alignment) is reliable and well proven.
Concentrating and tracking Photovoltaic collector
The idea is to trade off low cost mirrors for high cost PV panels.
Bifacial Photovoltaic (BFPV) panels: The type of PV panel used here is bi-facial. Bi-facial panels generate more power by accepting sunlight from both sides. So this BFPV collector configuration is a 5sun PV concentrator. About 4 sun power is reflected off the mirrors and one sun power comes directly from the sun.
Note the small square 10x10 inch panel at the bottom left edge of the mirror assembly. This is also BFPV. This small panel is perpendicular to the main PV collector and does not get direct sunlight, yet it collects enough energy from ambient light to drive the tracking system. This is an indication of the efficiency of the tracking system. The power requirement for the polar mount tracker is small, almost infinitesimal. The drive system for each tracking concentrator mirror assembly consists of the small square panel and a small battery and drive motor. The polar mount drive is completely independent of the main power collection system.
The 4-sun concentrator uses 4 flat plate mirrors for each PV panel. Shown here are four flat PV panels, each with four concentrating flat mirrors. The PV panels are at the focus of the mirrors.