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16 December 2008


SolFocus and Samaras to develop first commercial CPV project in Greece

Concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) system maker SolFocus Inc of Mountain View, CA, USA has agreed with Concept, a division of renewable energy development firm Samaras Group of Thessaloniki, Greece, to jointly develop the first commercial installation of concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology in Greece. As part of the deployment, SolFocus will expand its European operations (which are headquartered in Madrid, Spain) to open a subsidiary in Greece.

Spanning multiple sites, the deployment will have the capacity to produce 1.6MW of power using the SolFocus 1100S system. Launched a month ago, the 1100S uses III-V-based solar cells to achieve panel efficiencies of 25%, which the firm claims is the highest energy yield for PV systems currently on the market. Installation will begin in spring 2009, with the first delivery of power expected in the summer.

“We view this groundbreaking project as the beginning of a promising collaboration with SolFocus,” says Samaras Group's president Dimitrios Samaras. “We will introduce the unrivaled efficiency of CPV solar technology to Greece and other regions in southern Europe,” he adds.

In the first year of production, the system should have the capability to meet energy demands for a small town with about 2500 residents, while preventing the release of 2800 tons of carbon dioxide, SolFocus reckons.

“The group’s selection of the new SolFocus system validates the real-world performance, efficiency and scalability of our technology,” says SolFocus' president Mark Crowley. “Our partnership will enable SolFocus to expand into the lucrative Greek market, which is boosted by favorable incentives and strong demand for electricity,” he adds.

The CPV system’s scalable design employs rows of reflective, glass-based optics to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto III-V-based solar cells that have high efficiency (approaching 40%, more than twice that of traditional silicon solar cells). Like the smaller SF-1000S, the SF-1100S uses about a thousandth of the active solar cell material compared to traditional PV panels. In a solar-rich country like Greece, such efficiency can accelerate the trajectory for solar energy to reach cost parity with fossil fuels, SolFocus claims.

SolFocus integrates its CPV panels with a tracking system that continuously aligns the solar array with direct sunlight throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. The firm says that the 1100S system's tracking capability results in the matching of energy generation to peak demand periods.

The Samaras project follows the announcement in early November of a $103m (€80m) project with EMPE Solar that will deploy the same solar technology in a 10MW installation in several sites across southern Spain by the end of 2010 (expected to be Europe’s largest deployment of CPV technology).

See related items:

SolFocus launches 25%-efficient CPV system for medium/utility-scale plants

SolFocus and EMPE sign $103m deal for 10MW utility-scale PV project

SolFocus first to complete ISFOC CPV installation

CPV Consortium launched to steer industry growth in concentrating photovoltaics

SolFocus first CPV systems maker to get CEC approval

Search: SolFocus CPV



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