Solar Tribune

CPV to gain momentum as European subsidies decline


According to a new report from Lux Research, “Putting High‐Concentrating Photovoltaics into Focus,” the concentrated PV market will expand extensively in the next five years.

The market for high-concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV), also known as concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), will be worth $1.6 billion by 2017.

The June 26 report claims that the HCPV industry will face a 31 percent compound annual growth rate for the next five years, reaching installed capacity of just under 700 MW.

The technology uses mirrors and lenses to concentrate light from the sun onto super-efficient cells to produce electricity. But despite CPV’s efficiency, the technology has yet to catch on on a commercial scale – partly because solar technology has been most popular in areas with less direct sunlight.

“HCPV is only relevant in high direct normal irradiance environments,” said Lux Research Associate Ed Cahill. “It only focuses direct sunlight onto the solar cells.”

A close up of a SolFocus CPV panel. Credit: SolFocus

But the report suggests that CPV’s popularity will increase – thanks to the changing levels of government support for various solar technologies, as well as greater demand in places with high sunlight like Saudi Arabia and India.

“HCPV has had very little success installing commercial systems to date. However, as markets shift due to subsidy cuts from distributed installations in low‐DNI (direct normal irradiance) environments such as Germany, to large installations in high‐DNI environments such as India, expect HCPV to grow at a faster rate than competing technologies,” said Cahill.

The report found that costs for the technology are declining, and will become competitive with single‐axis‐tracked multi‐crystalline silicon in 2017 thanks to lower shipping and labor costs, besides economies of scale.

Finally, Lux Research predicts that solar cells will reach 50% efficiency in the coming decade.

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