Soitec Launches Fifth Generation of Concentrated Photovoltaic Solar Power Systems

Soitec (Euronext), a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, today introduced its fifth generation of concentrated solar energy photovoltaic (CPV) systems with enhanced features and performance characteristics specifically designed to benefit large-scale utility power plants. The new product configuration delivers higher efficiency and lower cost of electricity.

Soitec’s new CPV system includes a 28 kW tracker of over 100 square-meters of module area, the optimum size to deliver high performance while drastically reducing the cost of installation and maintenance. It is designed to improve the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCoE) for very large solar power plants. While employing the same proven, reliable materials as the previous generation, the new system’s configuration improves upon Soitec’s previous CPV products, boosting energy-generating efficiencies as high as 30 percent by introducing evolutionary improvements to Soitec’s ConcentrixTM technology.

In addition to product improvements, Soitec offers power companies a path to lower costs and faster installation times by using an innovative ‘building block’ approach developed by Soitec and its partners. The new CPV systems are designed to be clustered into over 1 MW blocks, with each block using a pair of centralized inverters. This design strategy significantly reduces construction and maintenance costs.

‘Our latest generation of Concentrix product technology is perfectly suited to meet the growing demand for utility-scale solar installations. We are ready now to provide very cost-effective deployment of CPV solar power plants capable of generating hundreds of megawatts of electricity,’ said Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, Soitec’s senior vice president, customer group for the solar energy business unit.

The new system consists of 12 CPV modules, each generating more than 2 kW of peak power. For this new product, Soitec has reconfigured its Concentrix modules to reduce the number of parts per CPV system, making installation in the field simpler and faster. By leveraging the field-proven CPV cells, high concentration ratio and silicone-on-glass Fresnel lens construction used in previous generations of Concentrix products, the new system delivers the same high reliability and life expectancy.

Soitec’s two-axis-tracking CPV systems are well suited for installation sites with high direct solar radiation. The systems produce a high, constant power output curve throughout the day and are able to match peak-load demands.

Soitec has begun shipping demonstration units to project sites. Plans call for volume production to ramp in the first quarter of 2012 at the company’s manufacturing facility in Freiburg, Germany, and later at Soitec’s planned new factory in San Diego, California.

Soitec is exhibiting in booth #5513 at the Solar Power International trade show, October 17-20 in Dallas, Tx.

Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec’s products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV).

The company’s core technologies are Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™ and Concentrix™, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States.