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FOCUS Progress Update - Arizona State University's Solar-Concentrating Photovoltaic Mirror

The PVMirror project is currently on track to successful completion of its third-quarter milestones. Several technical risks to the project were assessed in Q2, including PV cell efficiency loss due to bending to the curvature of the trough, and fabrication of optical coatings with the target performance. A large-area glass curving process developed at UA was modified to enable small pieces of glass to be slumped to the right curvature to make PVMirror prototypes, and a process for making PVMirror prototypes was successfully established using the curved glass and six-inch silicon heterojunction PV cells fabricated at ASU. As expected, curving the PV cells to the large trough radius (1.6 meters) has no deleterious impact on their power output.

Optical coatings were designed with software and fabricated both on glass and on the silicon PV cells themselves (two routes to the same end—the optical coating should be between the glass and the cells). The coatings consisted of SiO2/TiO2 stacks deposited by electron-beam evaporation performed by a commercial vendor in the US, and the measured reflectance and transmittance spectra were reasonably close to the target spectra. The team also evaluated a free-standing polymer film that behaves like an optical filter; this option was not anticipated at the start of the project and appears to be an exciting possibility from both a performance and manufacturing-convenience perspective. Economic analysis of the PVMirror concept is an integral part of the project, and the main focus of Q3 is to determine which of the three spectrum-splitting options is most techno-economically promising. This will guide the final design of the first PVMirror prototype ready for outdoor testing, which will be completed at the end of Q4. 

Progress Updates
May 2015 Progress Update 

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