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Compact, high-efficiency sunlight harvesting

Publication date 2012
B-Phot Authors Fabian Duerr, Hugo Thienpont
DOI 10.1117/2.1201211.004541
F. Duerr, Y. Meuret, H. Thienpont, P. Benítez, and J. C. Miñano, “Compact, high-efficiency sunlight harvesting,” presented at the SPIE NEWSROOM, 2012.
Abstract Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems use optics to concentrate sunlight onto solar cells. By increasing the concentration of light that reaches the solar cell, CPV systems allow the area of the solar cell to be reduced. Solar cells are made of expensive semiconductor material, and CPV systems consist of inexpensive mirrors or lenses. Thus, a CPV module—consisting of the CPV system, and the cell—can be cheaper than the solar cell alone, but equally efficient. High-efficiency multi-junction solar cells can boost the conversion efficiency of CPV modules beyond 30%, but their expense means they require a high concentration of light (>400×) to be economically viable. Achieving this level of concentration normally requires dual-axis tracking of the sun's diurnal and seasonal movements.
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