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March 09, 2007


Luigi Aronson

When they figure the efficiency of conversion of sunlight, do they figure from the area of the pre-concentrated sunlight or from the area of the cell itself.

Otherwise, how do you compare system efficiency?


The efficiency of a CPV system is usually the optical efficiency times the electrical efficiency - meaning the energy lost due to concentration is counted.

Interestingly, I couldn't find what concentration technology will be used for the modules.

Thomas Pedersen

I'm pretty sure the rated efficiency of the Spectrolab cell is the ratio of electricity produced to solar energy reaching the cell. That means that it does not take into account concentration loss. It does, however, mean that if you concentrate sunlight x times, you get x times as much power from the cell (up to a certain limit, probably dependent on cell temperature).


Cell temperature could be a serious problem. Even with the most advanced cooling and thermal management systems, the strain will be enormous. How long, on average, will these cells last under 1000 suns?

Off course, a lower concentration could be used. But would it be possible to use some sort of low-e coating on the cell? That could block most of the infrared radiation so there should be a lower operating temperature which gives higher efficiency and life of the cells. But it will no doubt also block some of the useful wavelenghts...

So how would that work out?

Don Wagner

One of the most efficient ways to do this is to separate the spectrum then use the wavelengths where that cell is most efficient. There is an article about a 42.8% efficiency at http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=49483.
Sol Solution has a simpler lens for separating and concentrating the sunlight at


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