30 September 2010


SolFocus CPV systems installed at Border Environment Cooperation Commission in Juarez, Mexico

SolFocus Inc of Mountain View, CA, USA has installed 16.8kW of SolFocus’ high-concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems at the offices of public sector partner the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) in the US–Mexico border city of Juarez, Mexico (representing the the first CPV installation in the Northern Mexico border region). The two solar arrays will produce 43.13MW-hr per year, powering about a third of the office building’s needs.

“At BECC, we focus on the technical, environmental and social aspects of project development, and work with communities and project sponsors in the US–Mexico border region to develop, finance and build affordable and self-sustaining projects that address a human health or environmental need,” says general manager Daniel Chacón. “Bringing together SolFocus and local developer Sonnergía demonstrates the importance of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico on environmental and economic policies and potential business developments in clean energy technologies for this region's sustainable economic growth,” he adds.

“As a local developer, we knew that SolFocus CPV technology, with its high energy yield, was the best-suited technology for the border region,” comments Sonnergía’s president Jose Medina. “Sonnergía’s work with BECC and SolFocus demonstrates that a stable energy infrastructure is important to US–Mexico relations, border security and the regional economy of both the United States and Mexico.”

The US–Mexico border region has significant solar resources that make it an ideal environment for CPV technology, says SolFocus. A constant source of intense sunrays provides an annual average of 7–8kW-hrs per square meter daily, providing enough energy to power municipalities, airports, colleges and industrial complexes. BECC targets wider-spread deployment of photovoltaics in the border region, improving the local environmental conditions, increasing employment opportunities and helping the country meet national policy goals for renewable energy deployment and greenhouse-gas reductions.

“With renewable development, the border region could easily become a showcase for sustainable economic development and trade projects,” says SolFocus’ president & CEO Mark Crowley.

SolFocus’ CPV design uses a system of patented reflective optics (curved mirrors) to concentrate sunlight 650 times onto gallium arsenide-based solar cells (on germanium substrates) that have high solar energy conversion efficiency (approaching 40%, more than twice that of traditional silicon solar cells). Like its smaller SF-1000S system (approved by the CEC in September 2008), the firm's second product (the SF-1100S, launched that November) uses about a thousandth of the active solar cell material compared to traditional silicon-based PV panels.

The firm adds that, in solar-rich regions like Northern Mexico, its CPV technology yields significantly more energy than other technologies, but with an extremely light environmental footprint, it is claimed.

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