Aerojet Rocketdyne (a GenCorp company), is successfully demonstrating a commercial-scale High Concentrated Photovoltaic pilot system designed to generate more solar energy at less cost, in a smaller amount of space, than traditional flat-panel PV technology.
The 600-square-foot unit is rated at 17.5 kilowatts DC, enough electricity to power seven homes. It began operating in August 2013 and has already achieved AC operating efficiencies above 30 percent at the system level.
“By applying our expertise in complex system integration, we are able to concentrate sunlight onto the photovoltaic cells from sunrise to sundown, generating renewable energy in the most efficient, cost effective way,” said Neeta Patel, director of Energy Systems, Aerojet Rocketdyne. “During daylight hours, the HCPV modules are pointed at the sun by dual axis trackers to generate the most possible energy.”
The HCPV system is being demonstrated at the Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) in Colorado – the largest test facility in the United States for solar technologies at the early commercial or near-commercial stages of development.
Over the course of a year in sunny regions, HCPV technology has the potential to reduce the cost of solar energy by 20 percent by delivering up to 30 percent more energy than traditional flat-panel systems. The technology is easily scalable through the use of multiple units – from single unit installations of 14 to 30 kilowatts, to commercial-scale power plants of 10 to 100 megawatts.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is working with the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc., a nonprofit organization that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public.
The HCPV modules were supplied by Semprius and provide a solar conversion efficiency of greater than 35 percent.