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31 January 2008


Emcore to supply CPVs for utility-scale projects in southwest USA

Emcore Corp of Albuquerque, NM has signed a memorandum of understanding with SunPeak Solar LLC of Palm Desert, CA for a multi-year agreement to supply 200-700MW of solar power systems, scheduled for deployment in utility-scale projects under development in the southwestern region of the USA.

Emcore will install turnkey solar power systems using its concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems. SunPeak Solar is securing land and grid access throughout 2008, and project construction is expected to begin in early 2009. The principals of privately held SunPeak Solar have developed wind power projects in North America and Europe in the past decade, are well funded through the sale of certain wind power assets, and are now turning their attention to large-scale terrestrial solar energy projects in the USA. SunPeak Solar is developing a pipeline of more than 1000MW of utility-scale solar energy projects in the southwestern USA.

Emcore says that the deal is not expected to contribute revenues until 2009 and is dependent on the renewal of the federal investment tax credit (ITC) extending into 2009 and beyond.

“We have conducted comprehensive research on different technologies and products, including concentrating solar thermal and various solar photovoltaic solutions, and concluded that the solar CPV represents the best solution based on the project requirement and our experience,” says SunPeak’s CEO David Rennie. “CPV is our preferred technology in many locations throughout the desert southwest. CPV has the advantage of requiring very little water during operation and CPV systems can be installed with minimal impact on the desert environment,” he adds.

“Emcore is the only vertically integrated CPV product provider and has the capacity and commitment for such projects,” continues Rennie. “We are encouraging our congressional delegation to extend the investment tax credit for renewables, which was left out of the recent energy bill, and keep the US competitive in renewable energy policy with the rest of the world.”

Emcore’s CPV systems incorporate high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells that operate with 500x concentration. CPV improves the performance of compound semiconductor-based solar cells, avoids the supply constraint that currently exists with silicon-based solar modules, and provides a lower cost-per-watt, says the firm.

“Emcore’s CPV systems are optimized for the lowest cost-per-watt of any utility-scale photovoltaic power system,” claims Earl Fuller, VP and general manager of Emcore’s Solar Power Systems division. “The use of our gallium arsenide based multi-junction solar cells has the added advantage of retaining high efficiency even in the hot summers in the desert southwest,” he adds.

See related items:

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Rochester’s NanoPower Research Labs receive $3.2m in PV funding

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Emcore claims record efficiency for volume-production, multi-junction solar cell aimed at terrestrial applications

Search: Photovoltaic Concentrator solar cells