Chromasun and Australian Research Partners to Develop Next Generation Solar Hybrid System

Industrial rooftop solar solutions company Chromasun announced that it has partnered with a number of leading Australian research institutions to win a $3.2 million applied research grant from the Australian Solar Institute (ASI). This research grant will be used to develop a Chromasun MCT (Micro-Concentrator) module that can deliver both high temperature solar thermal heat and solar electricity.

The ASI awarded a $3,235,710 grant to support applied research by Chromasun, The Australian National University (ANU), The University of New South Wales (UNSW), and the Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation (CSIRO). The total project involves $9.4 million in research work. The result will be a new hybrid Chromasun MCT module that will simultaneously deliver both 150°C heat and solar electricity.

Currently, solar hybrid devices can only deliver low-grade heat and relatively poor photovoltaic efficiency because the cells are working well beyond their most efficient operating temperature. This temperature is necessary because heat at 150°C offers more cost-effective solar-cooling and industrial process heat. This receiver will use spectral splitting to thermally decouple the photovoltaic cells from the 150°C circulating fluid, enabling the receiver to capture high value heat while at the same time keeping the photovoltaic cells cool and efficient.

"We are proud that the Australian Solar Institute has selected Chromasun and our leading Australian research partners for a project that will strengthen our position as the emerging leader in advanced rooftop solar solutions," said Peter Le Lievre, CEO of Chromasun. "This new research and resulting module will be disruptive because it will deliver high grade heat yet allow the photovoltaic cells to operate at a cooler and more efficient temperature."

The Chromasun MCT is a lightweight, low-profile solar collector that concentrates sunlight by 25 times using highly reflective aluminum mirrors. The mirrors track in unison to follow the sun but are enclosed within a sealed canopy to protect against the elements. The Chromasun MCT therefore has no external moving parts and is mounted on the same racking systems as conventional flat panel solar thermal collectors.

Chromasun is presently beta testing a thermal version of its MCT collector in a number of project sites globally. The Chromasun MCT is designed to compete favorably with retail natural gas and electricity prices in many markets.

Founded in 2008, Chromasun is a leading developer and manufacturer of rooftop friendly high performance solar solutions. Chromasun’s unique MCT HT solar collector provides high grade thermal energy but in a familiar flat panel format with no external moving parts. The MCT HT is designed to drive high performance air-conditioning absorption chillers and other industrial process heat applications directly from sunlight. It is the most space efficient solar technology available and can produce more energy per unit of roof area than any competing technology. As a leader in the space, the Chromasun team of engineers and professionals have decades of experience in utility scale solar, air-conditioning engineering, product development and manufacturing.