A concentrator is a photovoltaic module with optical elements like Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight onto a solar cell with a reduced surface area. The majority of concentrator arrays must follow or face the sun directly. They are able to multiply sunlight’s power flux by a factor of hundreds.
Using a concentrator, directing light onto the PV cells is one method of boosting the output from solar systems. Optical light collectors like lenses or mirrors can be used for this. Condensing photovoltaics are the name for the PV systems that make advantage of focused light. The CPV gather light from a wider region and concentrates it onto a solar cell with a smaller surface area.
What type of solar cells are used in CPV technology?
Lower effectiveness multi-junction cells can be used in CPV technologies, silicon, CdTe, and CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) cells have the highest efficiency. These multi-junction cells have field efficiencies in the 30 percent range and have demonstrated up to 40 percent efficiency in lab experiments.
Only direct beam radiation—not diffuse radiation—can be employed by the CPV (diffused from clouds and atmosphere). Therefore, places with high direct normal irradiance are the greatest candidates for these systems.
Sun tracking is necessary for getting good cell performance for optimal light concentration. Tracking is especially important for systems with high concentrations. The CPV can often be divided into three concentration categories: low, medium, and high.
Multijunction cells have the ability to capture a significant amount of sunlight necessitates more complex cooling and tracking systems, which could increase energy costs.
What are the costs of CPV technology?
On the market, CPV technology is anticipated to develop and prosper. Because significantly smaller solar cells are utilised to convert the concentrated light, which means much less expensive PV semiconductor material is used, CPV technology is more cost-effective. Additionally, the system’s optics are composed of glass and typically cost less than the cells themselves.
Also Read: What is Conductance?
In order to prevent localized overheating (hot spots), which can harm the PV material, CPV systems can produce dramatically elevated temperatures on the surface of the PV material. Additionally, at high temperatures, the photovoltaic conversion’s thermodynamic efficiency decreases, therefore some sort of cooling would be advantageous.
Cooling methods include passive and active. Active cooling is not required for the CPV cells with low and medium concentration ratios because of the modest temperatures that are reached. High-capacity heat sinks are necessary for high-concentration cells in order to prevent thermal degradation of the materials.