Solar Systems designs and manufactures ultra-high efficiency concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) power generation systems, which are ideally suited to large utility-scale deployment globally.
As climate change issues bring about a paradigm shift in energy production from conventional fossil fuel sources to renewable energy sources and nuclear power, there has been increasing interest in developing solar energy technology that could be economically viable in very large-scale utility projects in the order of 10’s to 100’s of megawatts (MW’s) electrical output.
Silex acquired the assets of Melbourne based Solar Systems including the technology intellectual property and patents, a new manufacturing facility in Abbotsford, Melbourne, and a large-scale test and demonstration facility in Bridgewater, central Victoria in 2010.
Solar Systems utilises a novel approach known as the ‘Dense Array’ concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology, whereby low-cost large-area parabolic mirrors reflect the sunlight onto a small-area solar conversion module, concentrating the sunlight to the equivalent of approximately 500 to 1000 suns.
The principle advantages of Solar Systems’ Dense Array CPV technology are:
Smaller area module, dramatically decreases the costs associated with PV material, thereby permitting use of more expensive but much higher efficiency solar cells.
Compact ‘Dense array’ PV module can be actively cooled, decreasing both the power losses and lifetime performance degradation caused by extended operation at higher temperature.
Ground-mounted dish mirror systems are relatively cheap and are controlled with proprietary technology to track the sun throughout the day, increasing the total solar power produced each day compared to non-tracking systems.
The technology can be easily upgraded – replacing an older Dense Array receiver with a newer more powerful model.
Currently cells have approximately 40 percent solar conversion efficiency.
Future cell designs are projected to reach over 50 per cent efficiency.
Commercialisation and Project Deployment
Solar Systems is undertaking a phased approach to the commercialisation of its Dense Array CPV Technology:
Phase 1: Technology Commercialisation Program (Expected completion mid-CY2012)
Phase 2: Small Scale Deployments (Demonstration Plants)
Mildura Stage 1 (Victoria, Australia): 1.5MW (Expected completion mid-CY2013)
Nofa (Tibrak, Saudi Arabia): 1.0MW (Expected completion early-CY2013)
Beaumont (California, USA): 1.0MW (Expected completion CY2013)
Phase 3: Large Scale Deployment
Mildura Stage 2 (Victoria, Australia): 100MW
Phase 4: Open Market Deployment
Further information can be accessed on the Solar Systems website