Israel's National Solar Energy Center will start testing a 400 square meter (4,300 sq ft) solar collecting dish, the big dish, capable of achieving 1000 suns (concentration the intesity of the suns enegy by a factor of 1000).
The dish is lined with 216 mirrors, but not more than a quarter will be uncovered to sunlight for the initial experiments. The mirrors concentrate the light onto a small square of concentrator photovoltaic cells, which convert the light into electricity. The concentrator photovoltaic panel is only 10 cm by 10 cm and is too small to absorb the energy from the whole dish. An array of cells large enough to absorb all of the collectors energy would be about 65 cm x 65 cm. The testing will progress in stages, first at 20 suns, then with 40 suns and so on up to 100 suns.
According to a study the center's director, professor David Faiman, published last year, mass producing dish systems like the Sede Boker model would cost less than $1,000 per kilowatt to produce -- the cost of a typical, fossil-fuel burning plant.
The Energy Blog: Huge Concentrating PV Collector to Start Tests