Zenith Solar have launched their new installation in Israel – it’s an amazing technology for the right location and there is talk that the array in the Negev desert could soon supply 20% of Israel’s electricity from units which are scalable and track the sun.
The concept of Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) systems is to use low cost optics to increase the light incident onto the very high efficiency semiconductor solar cell material, thus reducing overall cost of the system while increasing energy output. The concentration factor, denoted by X, is a measure of the increased light intensity on the semiconductor cell. X equals approximately the area of the optic collector divided by area of the semiconductor solar cell. ZenithSolar system is designed to a concentration factor of 1000 X. The ZenithSolar optical dish is based on a patented design, utilizing multiple simple flat mirrors mounted on a plastic surface. The molded plastic surface, divided into four quadrants, is fixed onto a rigid, high precision metal frame assembled onto an azimuth – elevation solar tracking system.
The concentrated solar radiation is reflected from each individual mirror onto an array of solar cells. ZenithSolar uses field proven high efficiency multi-junction III-V solar cells. In conventional CPV systems, the excess heat generated in the solar cell needs to be removed to avoid damaging the cell and to maintain high efficiency of electricity conversion. ZenithSolar utilises the heat generated at the solar cell receiver to provide usable hot water heating, improving overall solar power conversion efficiency to 75%