Under high solar radiation, a CPV system has a higher power generation capacity than conventional photovoltaic systems using crystalline silicon cells. Sumitomo Electric began development of a thin and lightweight photovoltaic module in 2010 and internal demonstration operation of the module in 2012 (Picture 1). Highly evaluating the development results, the University of Miyazaki decided to install this system and started the operation on March 19, 2014, as a promising next-generation photovoltaic system for its research projects.
Two CPV systems, each of which consists of 64 modules, have been installed to the university. The total rated output of the two systems is 15 kW or above (under concentrator standard test conditions set by International Electrotechnical Commission). As this module allows figures and letters to be displayed on its surface without reducing the output power, the university logo is displayed on the surface (Picture 2).
Sumitomo Electric will continue to develop products with higher cost performance, making use of the excellent features of its CPV system, and will market them as new photovoltaic systems, mainly in countries and regions with high solar radiation.
【Features of the CPV system】
- 1．Efficient power generation system with high power output performance suitable for high temperature environments
- The CPV system uses compound semiconductor power generation devices with very high power generation efficiency, and directly collects sunlight with the lens as it accurately tracks the sun (Figure 1). The system boasts a power generation efficiency about twice as high as that of a crystalline silicon cell (Figure 2). As the power generation device has little temperature dependence, this system is highly effective in regions with high direct radiation and high air temperatures.
- 2．Thin and lightweight module
- Sumitomo Electric has developed a thin and lightweight module (about 100 mm thick and weighing less than 10 kg), which is at the top of the range for concentrator photovoltaic systems. The thin and lightweight module has advantages such as improved efficiency in loading for delivery and installation at the site and increase in the number of modules to be mounted on the sun tracking frame, contributing to a lower total cost for the power generation system.
- 3．Efficient use of the installation area
- As the CPV modules are mounted on the sun tracking frame, the space under the module can be used for parking, flowerbeds or farming.