30 May 2011

CPV ready to compete in solar market

While the concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) market remains a fraction of the world’s total installed solar base, at a mere 28MW of the total 33,000MW, CPV technology is finally gaining momentum with multiple utility-scale project announcements over the past year, according to the report ‘Concentrating Photovoltaics 2011: Technology, Costs and Markets’ from GTM Research (the research arm of Greentech Media), which examines the recent gains and obstacles remaining for the fast-growing solar technology.

Table: Global CPV ecosystem.

This growing pipeline of CPV projects represents a vote of confidence from solar developers for a technology that, to date, has been marginalized because it was considered unproven and risky, says the firm.

“Developers choosing a solar technology for a large power plant focus on two factors: cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and bankability,” says report co-author Brett Prior, senior analyst at GTM Research. “CPV’s promise has been a lower cost/kWh, but it has been hamstrung by a lack of bankability, as the technology’s track record is much shorter and its performance warranties were not backed by strong corporate parents,” he adds.

Currently, three CPV technology providers are at the head of the market — Amonix, Concentrix Solar, and SolFocus— accounting for 96% of global projects in operation, construction or development (with signed power purchase agreements). Each has boosted their respective viability over the past two years by attracting strong strategic partners. The report examines the most prominent of these partnerships.

“These relationships will be key in generating additional demand for CPV projects,” says Prior. “They bring credibility to the technology, and will help future plants to secure project finance from the major banks.”

GTM Research forecasts that annual CPV installations will surpass 1000MW per year by 2015, predicated upon CPV firms successfully achieving their cost reduction roadmaps and reducing the installed cost of a CPV system by more than 30% over the next 4 years.

Tags: CPV

Visit: www.gtmresearch.com

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