12 August 2010


CPV system maker Concentrix to inaugurate its first power plant in South Africa

On 1 September, concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system maker Concentrix Solar GmbH of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany will inaugurate its first power facility in South Africa — a 60kW plant at the Aquila Private Game Reserve in Touwsrivier, Western Cape — as the initial step in developing large-scale solar power projects in the country.

“CPV systems are perfectly suited for use in South Africa, with its energy shortage, water scarcity and high temperatures,” says Concentrix Solar’s CEO Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, who adds that the systems can be implemented quickly and easily, do not need cooling water and do not suffer from heat degradation at hot ambient temperatures. “In addition, this facility will initiate the transfer of know-how, and serves to develop local skills in South Africa with immediate effect.”

With the new installation, the Aquila Private Game Reserve can cover all energy requirements during daylight hours as well as making a positive contribution to environmentally friendly tourism, Concentrix comments.

Concentrix is also actively pursuing the project development of a 50MW utility-scale power plant in the Western Cape. The firm has been present in South Africa since 2008 and has the ability to develop large-scale solar projects and deliver turnkey solutions under local conditions utilizing local content, it adds.

With a high amount of direct solar irradiation, South Africa is suited to the use of Concentrix’s CPV systems which, due to their high efficiency and two-axis tracking, provide constant high power output throughout the day, the firm claims.

Concentrix was founded in 2005 as a privately held spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Last December, about 80% of its shares were acquired by the Soitec Group of Bernin, France, which manufactures engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers (as well as III-V epiwafers through its Picogiga International division).

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