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A High Efficiency Flat Plate PV with Integrated Micro-CPV Atop a 1-Sun Panel

University of Arizona

A High Efficiency Flat Plate PV with Integrated Micro-CPV Atop a 1-Sun Panel

Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,746,463
Location: 
Tucson, AZ
Project Term: 
04/01/2017 to 09/30/2019
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

The use of flat-panel solar photovoltaics (FPV) is growing dramatically as costs decrease. By contrast, more efficient concentrated PV systems (CPV), which focus direct sunlight onto a single point, have not been widely adopted because of their high cost, large size, and expensive tracking systems. A new approach, micro-scale concentrated photovoltaic systems (micro-CPV), may deliver the cost and size benefits of conventional FPV systems, but with an estimated 50% performance improvement. Micro-CPV modules would use cost-effective trackers and generate more electrical power in a given area. This allows installation on space-constrained residential rooftops and decreased costs for commercial and utility applications. Finally, the MOSAIC systems would have the ability to capture both direct and diffuse sunlight, which could make CPV economical in more geographical regions. These innovations could spur the expanded use of PV to generate clean, renewable energy.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

University of Arizona will develop a micro-CPV system that combines a CPV cell with dual-sided FPV panels to capture direct, diffuse, and reflected sunlight. The team's system will feature lenses that focus sunlight onto a horizontal waveguide, which further concentrates the light onto high-performance micro-CPV solar cells. Dual-sided solar panels, attached beneath the CPV cells, enable diffuse light collection on one side and reflected light collection on the other side. The system will be mounted on a two-axis tracker that will allow for optimal collection of sunlight throughout the day.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, innovations from University of Arizona's project may lower the cost of solar systems by allowing economical, high-volume manufacturing of micro-CPV arrays. Improved systems could encourage greater adoption of solar power in all three primary markets - residential, commercial, and utility.

Security: 

Expanded use of clean, renewable solar power could reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Environment: 

Solar power offers clean power generation with zero emissions. Technologies developed under MOSAIC may also enable solar installations with smaller physical footprints, reducing the environmental impacts of large solar arrays.

Economy: 

Technologies developed under MOSAIC could offer a cost-effective option for clean, locally produced power across all market sectors.

Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Michael Haney
Project Contact: 
Dr. Bob Norwood
Release Date: 
8/24/2015