A Phoenix-based company is working on new concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology that shares some striking similarities with a system under development in Tucson by University of Arizona astronomy professor Roger Angel.
The CPV system under development by Phoenix-based Southwest Solar Technologies Inc. uses a dish-shaped mirror array to focus sunlight on high-efficiency, triple-junction PV cells, with a liquid cooling system to handle the resulting heat load. The system, which Southwest Solar calls “patent-pending,” also includes an undescribed "optical element," according to the company’s website.
The technology Angel and his company, REhnu, are developing uses arrays of square, parabolic mirrors in a special, tracking space frame to focus light through a ball-shaped lens onto triple-junction PV cells, with a liquid cooling system.
Prior CPV designs have used a grid array of Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight individually on high-efficiency cells. Pioneers in that design include California-based Amonix Inc., which last year installed a 2-megawatt CPV array at the UA Science and Technology Park's Solar Zone demo area.
Founded in 2008, Southwest Solar Technologies had previously demonstrated thermal solar-dish turbine technology.