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19 August 2009


OPEL and BETASOL complete 2nd 110kW phase of 440kW Spanish HCPV solar farm

OPEL International Inc of Shelton, CT, USA and Toronto, Canada, which makes high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) panels (as well as both roof- and ground-based dual- and single-axis solar trackers for mounting them), and its Spanish partner BETASOL, which builds utility-grade solar farm installations for subsequent sale to investor groups, have completed the second, 110kW phase of a four-phase, 440kW utility-grade solar photovoltaic power plant in the Tarragona region of Spain (said to be a prime location for solar development).

One of the world’s first commercial HCPV installations, the plant now generates 220kW of electricity for the power grid and provides increasing revenue for BETASOL. The balance of the installation is expected to take place during third-quarter 2009. When fully completed, the plant will supply electricity to over 350 households.

OPEL built the installation with its Mk-I HCPV panels (which concentrate light from the sun more than 500 times) mounted on dual-axis trackers which, combined, result in higher power production per unit of land (acre/hectare) than silicon or thin-film flat panels, with the potential to boost photovoltaic yields by up to 40%, the firm claims. OPEL also reckons that the conversion efficiency is up to twice that of silicon flat-plate solar panels and more than three times that of thin-film solar panels.

Previously, in early summer, OPEL unveiled the photovoltaic power plant to prospective customers, technical institutions and investors from across Europe and Africa in a four-day preview event that demonstrated one of the first operable solar grid fields in the world using OPEL’s HCPV solar technology. “Being able to visit BETASOL’s solar grid farm and to see OPEL’s HCPV panels mounted on dual-axis trackers vividly demonstrated that advanced HCPV technology is ready now to deliver scalable electric power,” said Laurent Pignol, Responsable Montage et Financement de Projets for CARI Construction Services Compris, one of France’s leading construction companies. “Visitors can see the system’s efficiency using HCPV panels on dual-axis trackers, thus making the rate of return provided by the Spanish feed-in tariff structure even more attractive to investors,” says BETASOL’s managing director Jesus Cabetas.

OPEL plans additional customer visits to the site in September, and says that it will continue to report on progress with the solar technology as it completes the final phases of the project.

See related items:

OPEL and BETASOL complete first 110kW phase of HCPV installation

Spain’s BETASOL gains funding for second, 2.375MW solar farm using OPEL’s HCPVs

OPEL forms subsidiary to partner with European solar project developers

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