2 March 2012

Southwest to commercialize dense array CPV module with help of MaxQ’s cold-plate liquid cooling

To drive commercialization of its concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar power technology, Southwest Solar Technologies Inc of Phoenix, AZ, USA has signed a joint development agreement with MaxQ Power Conversion LLC, an affiliate of MaxQ Technology LLC of Tempe, AZ (which provides solutions for the power electronics industry).

Southwest Solar’s CPV module combines currently available high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells with what are reckoned to be innovative approaches in concentrator optics, power electronics, and efficient manufacturing. The design incorporates a unique solar flux management capability that enables non-uniform light intensity to be used, enabling use with either dish or heliostat collectors designed for concentrated solar power (CSP).

The two firms will cooperate to develop and manufacture Southwest Solar’s patent-pending dense array CPV module, which packages numerous multi-junction photovoltaic cells into a compact, high-concentration solar power generation module where a solar concentration ratio of 1200 times is achieved. Extremely high energy flows from this concentration can cause heating that can reduce solar cell performance. To manage this thermal intensity, the system uses a closed-loop liquid cooling system in the form of MaxQ’s cold-plate technology (currently used in high-power electronic conversion systems in the electric vehicle and inverter industries).

Unique internal fin construction and manufacturing methods provide efficient cooling for the solar cells. The cold plates are manufactured using the friction stir welding (FSW) process and a patent-pending design that allows MaxQ to incorporate unique structures with high thermal performance, low pressure drops and very high reliability. Minimal material is used to achieve light weight at low cost.

Southwest Solar says that the CPV development is part of its integrated development plan centered on its solar dish concentrator (the largest commercial solar dish in North America). The firm previously announced successful proof-of-concept testing of its integrated Dish concentrator and air-based open-cycle turbine to produce electricity. The firm’s product development and testing are conducted at its headquarters and operations facility at Southwest Solar Research Park.

Tags: Southwest Solar Technologies CPV

Visit: www.swsolartech.com

Visit: www.maxqtechnology.com

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