24 February 2010


Concentrix enters US market with 1MW CPV deployment at Chevron plant

Concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system maker Concentrix Solar GmbH of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany has signed a contract with Chevron Technology Ventures for the installation of a 1MW solar power plant using its FLATCON CPV technology at a Chevron Mining facility in Questa, NM, USA. The power produced will be sold through a power purchase agreement with the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative.

This will be the largest CPV installation in the US and one of the world’s largest CPV power plants, claims Concentrix, confirming full commercial readiness of its system for worldwide deployment and paving the way to utility-scale CPV projects.

Concentrix was founded in 2005 as a privately held spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. In 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).

The firm’s patented FLATCON technology uses Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight almost 500-fold onto a small area of high-efficiency solar cells, reducing the need for costly materials and increasing system efficiency. Last August, Concentrix said that, by using its new CX-75 generation of modules, it had raised its record for CPV AC (alternating-current) system efficiency from 23% (achieved in May 2008) to 25% under full field operating conditions (almost twice as high as those achieved by conventional silicon technology), as confirmed at demonstration tracking system installations on the University of California San Diego campus in the USA, and in Puertollano, Spain. Also, in late January, Concentrix said that it had received IEC certification 62108 for its CX-75 FLATCON module generation.

A FLATCON CPV tracking system has a nominal power output of 6kW, so 1MW consists of about 175 systems, which can be placed in an area of 7 acres. Concentrix operates a fully automated CPV module manufacturing line in Freiburg with a capacity of 25MW, and further expansion is planned.

“This commercial deployment [in Questa, New Mexico] is a key milestone for us and our US strategy,” says Concentrix’s CEO Hansjorg Lerchenmuller. “It is an important reference for our technology, and the next logical step considering the outstanding performance demonstrated at our Spanish power plants,” he adds.

“With their high direct normal irradiance and their high energy demand, the Southwestern states of the USA are perfectly suited for our CPV technology,” says Lerchenmuller. The FLATCON high-precision, two-axis tracking system helps utilities to match US peak power demands, he adds. Concentrix is planning new investments to further expand business in the Southwest USA in the near future.

See related items:

Concentrix wins IEC certification for new CX-75 CPV module

Soitec acquires CPV system maker Concentrix Solar

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