13 July 2010


Concentrix founds US subsidiary after California Energy Commission listing

Strengthening its presence in the US market for solar power plants, concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system maker Concentrix Solar GmbH of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, a division of the Soitec Group, says that it has launched a US-based subsidiary, hired additional industry professionals, and won listing from the California Energy Commission. The firm says that its utility-scale power plant technology is proven and commercially ready for large-scale deployment with all the key capabilities in place for increasing business in the USA.

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).

“With the development and growing importance of solar farms in the US, the time is right for us to form our US venture,” says Concentrix Solar’s CEO Hansjörg Lerchenmüller. “Due to our CPV technology’s extreme efficiency, modularity and flexibility, we are prepared to meet the needs and challenges of the US market,” he adds.

The new US subsidiary Concentrix Solar Inc is based in San Diego, where Concentrix installed a CPV demonstration system in July 2009 to test its solar modules under California's climate conditions. Since its installation, the 6kW system has achieved 25% efficiency in generating electricity.

After evaluating the market potential for its CPV technology, Concentrix Solar decided to open the US office, which will be led by Clark Crawford, the firm’s new general manager of business development. Previously, Crawford led sales & marketing efforts at CPV systems supplier Amonix Inc of Seal Beach, CA, USA, and has a track record of securing large-scale orders of CPV systems.

Also, after testing at TÜV Rheinland Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory LLC in Tempe, AZ, Concentrix’s CX-75 multi-junction CPV module has achieved a listing with the California Energy Commission (CEC), which is vital to doing business in California and a key step in financing commercial projects with customer companies and state energy utilities, says the firm.

Concentrix says that its CPV technology is designed for use by large-scale solar power plants in hot, arid regions. With characteristics such as low heat degradation and high durability, the system is suited to power plant installations in the American southwest. Performance benefits include a constant power-output curve to maintain the electricity supply needed to meet peak-load demands, the ability to operate without active cooling mechanisms, and almost no energy loss at high ambient temperatures.

Concentrix says that these attributes helped it to win a project with Chevron Technology Ventures to install the energy firm's first megawatt solar farm in the US, at a site in New Mexico (as announced in February). Construction has begun on the project, which will be one of the largest CPV power plants ever built in the USA. Completion is scheduled by the end of this year.

Concentrix is exhibiting at this week’s Intersolar North America trade show in San Francisco (13–15 July).

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