8 June 2010


CPV firm Circadian establishes test facility at University of Lisbon

Circadian Solar of Coventry, UK, which is developing concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems incorporating gallium arsenide multi-junction photovoltaic cells, has established a new test facility for its CPV system at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. The firm says this takes advantage both of the high direct normal solar insolation (DNI) in this part of Portugal and of the expertise of the University of Lisbon’s Solar Energy Research Group, led by professor António Vallêra.

The Solar Energy Research Group focuses on photovoltaics at both the materials level (working on new methods for the growth of high-quality and low-cost solar materials) and the system level (including research on insolation and PV performance measurement and CPV). It also runs a Solar Test Site where the performance of solar PV systems is monitored continuously. “We are delighted to form this new cooperation with Circadian Solar to assist the company in driving its innovative designs through to market applications,” comments Vallêra.

The installed Circadian Solar CPV system is a 5m2 tracker, a sub-structure of its 30m2 system (CS30) at the heart of its product line. The firm says that the research tracker allows easy access to the chassis for rapid changes of development modules, but provides the high (<0.4°) tracking accuracy of the standard product. Ethernet access is provided both for remote control of the tracker from Circadian’s UK headquarters and for the transmission of data for performance monitoring and immediate analysis. The system is already collecting data.

“Our research tracker at the University of Lisbon is an important test facility, which will greatly enhance our development of improved modules and thin-film III-V solar cells that are under development via our joint venture tf2 devices,” says Circadian’s R&D director Dr Geoffrey Duggan. tf2 devices was formed with Radboud University Nijmegen of The Netherlands last December to develop thin-film III-V technology for use in solar cells. The aim is to match the record conversion efficiency of III-V solar cells (which is greater than 41%), while reducing the cost of manufacture.

“Lisbon is easily accessible from the UK, and we are delighted to form this cooperative programme with professor António Vallêra and his team,” adds Duggan. “It is notable that, within days of our engineers arriving on site, the tracker was assembled, installed and commissioned, and a record performance on a new module design was recorded and transmitted to our headquarters.”

See related items:

CPV system maker Circadian and Radboud University form tf2 devices

Circadian Solar secures second, £2m tranche of £8m investment

Search: Circadian CPV GaAs multi-junction PV cells