What is “CPV” and how is it different from other solar technology?
CPV stands for concentrator photovoltaics. A concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) system converts light energy into electrical energy the same way that conventional photovoltaic technology does. The difference in the technologies lies in the addition of an optical system that focuses a large area of sunlight onto individual photovoltaic cells. Also, the solar cells used in CPV systems are different from silicon PV cells as they are capable of converting very large amounts of sunlight into energy at high efficiency. CPV systems can be thought of as “telescopes,” trained on the sun’s position and feeding the concentrated light to the cell. Optics in a concentrator system are significantly less expensive than the photovoltaic cell. The less cell area used per unit, the lower the overall cost of the system. With the SolFocus CPV system, a multi-junction PV cell of 1 square centimeter is illuminated by the sun magnified 650 times. This means that the sunlight covering 650 square centimeters is c