of PV or photovoltaic solar panels make them quite familiar terms with the
general populace particularly in California, the country’s leading producer
of solar-power generated electricity. Some may also be familiar with solar
thermal systems that make use of solar energy to create heat to generate
power through turbines. However, many still do not see solar energy as viable
alternatives to produce electricity due to high start-up costs and other
issues related to the manufacture and use of photovoltaic panels.
technology is emerging that will change all that. Called concentrated or
concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology, the system makes use of lenses
or mirrors to concentrate solar energy onto tiny solar cells that are highly
efficient in converting solar energy into electricity. Such arrangement is
meant to address the number one problem with the use solar PV systems – the
expensive silicon-based solar panel.
journals have already reported significant claims on how effective this
technology is on a laboratory setting, the challenge remains on whether this
technology will be viable in the commercial market. Several companies have
taken up this challenge and are now making significant headway by bringing
out CPV panels out into the market.
earlier, the difference in CPV technologies with traditional solar PV cells
is on the way sunlight is concentrated up to 650 times onto high performance
solar cells. This will increase the generated electricity which can be
maximized further with the use of tracking systems where the CPV panels can
efficiency considers the panels as a whole and is much lower than cell
efficiency. Efficient CPV panels can reach 25%, which is typically twice the
efficiency of traditional PV cells. As this efficiency increases the cost for
harnessing solar energy decreases resulting to less raw materials required,
lower manufacturing costs and reduced land utilization.
discusses some of the additional benefits that can be realized with the use
of concentrated photovoltaic solar panel technologies.
* Dual Land Use: CPV panels are mounted on elevated
tracking systems which can allow utilization of the land underneath for
* 95% Recyclable:
unlike traditional PV panels, CPVs use glass and aluminum as their two main
materials which can then be recycled. Useful life of solar panels is
typically 30 years.
* ROI in six+
months: early technologies used to manufacture solar panels make use of
manufacturing technologies require as much energy as they can produce over a
20-year period, resulting to poor net energy gain. These new CPVs are much
more efficient that users can realize payback within a short period of 6