TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Semprius, Inc., a developer of High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) panels, announced today the installation of the industry’s first microcell-based High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D) system. Deployed at Tucson Electric Power (TEP) in August, 2010, the system combines Semprius’ innovative high efficiency HCPV modules with a highly optimized, automated solar tracking system developed by Siemens. The TEP project is part of a joint development agreement signed by Semprius and Siemens in January 2010 that will result in the deployment of numerous new HCPV systems at test sites around the world.
Semprius supplied the HCPV modules for the TEP system. HCPV offers the lowest solar levelized cost of energy in sunny, dry climates of any photovoltaic technology by providing higher conversion efficiency and higher energy yield. Using a patented production process, Semprius has developed innovative microcells which increase system performance and reliability and decrease cost. These high efficiency gallium arsenide-based microcells, measuring only 600 microns by 600 microns in area and less than 10 microns thick, are up to 300 times smaller than cells used by competing HCPV manufacturers. Optics concentrates the sunlight 1,000 times so that only 0.1% of the module area is covered with the microcells. The microcell’s very small size enables use of low cost optics and electrical interconnects, which remove the heat eliminating the need for costly thermal management solutions.
“Our technology’s extremely small footprint and high efficiency play a key role in minimizing HCPV system cost and improving performance and reliability,” said Joe Carr, President and CEO of Semprius. “By collaborating with such leaders in renewable energy as Siemens and Tucson Electric Power, we believe this demonstration system will represent a major step forward in the continuing effort to drive down the cost of solar power.”
Siemens supplied the 2-axis tracker for the RD&D system at TEP. The tracker, which uses Siemens’ Simatic S7-1200 automation system and NREL’s Solar Positioning Algorithm, provides a tracking accuracy of better than 0.2 degrees. The Siemens industrial electronics components are designed to operate in Arizona’s arid desert climate. The tracker also features built-in remote data acquisition capability that allows Semprius to monitor the performance of the system.
“Competitive project deployment cost for HCPV will be the key for the success of this technology,” noted Peter Krause, Business Segment Manager for Siemens Industry, Inc. “By combining our advanced automation and control equipment with Semprius HCPV panel, we believe this project will demonstrate the technology’s potential to deliver grid-level prices to utility customers.”
“We’re looking forward to learning how Semprius’ HCPV technology performs in our service territory, particularly during periods of peak electric usage,” said Steve Metzger, Superintendent of Distribution Planning and Technical Services at Tucson Electric Power. “This collaborative project will contribute significantly to our efforts to evaluate and improve the performance of solar technologies employed by TEP customers.”
Semprius, Inc., is commercializing High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) panels for distributed commercial and institutional applications to large-scale utility power generation in sunny, dry climates. The company’s patented micro-transfer printing process along with mature semiconductor and printed circuit board processes fabricate the panel with a large array of microcells, which reduce cost and increase performance and reliability. For more information, please visit www.semprius.com.
About Tucson Electric Power
Tucson Electric Power, a subsidiary of UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE:UNS), provides safe, reliable power to more than 400,000 customers in southern Arizona. To learn more, visit tep.com. For more information about UniSource Energy, visit uns.com.