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Day Two: Solar Power International 2008 Exhibits

Still reporting from Solar Power International 2008, the show has been a sell out and there are over 15,000 people from all over the world at the conference. There are some interesting products that have hit the market that I want to show you. Let’s start off with the concentrated photovoltaic (CPV), these products are used for utility scale generation. Concentrated solar power is magnifying sunlight on to a small amount of solar cells to create a greater output. Hitachi has entered the solar power industry, although they are focusing on utility scale products such as the magnifying lens pictured above. The special lens attaches on top of solar cells that are designed to perform reliably in extreme heat conditions. Sharp Solar has been developing solar panels for a long time, although at this show they have showcased a concentrated photovoltaic panel similar to the design of Energy Innovation’s Sunflower CPV solar panel. This is the first time I have seen Sharp Solar display a concentrated solar panel, I think this is an industry trend, more solar panel manufacturers are diversifying into the CPV space. Green Volts has developed an interesting design which can concentrate sunlight into a neat looking panel and racking system. Green Volts claims that their system can compete with traditional fossil fuels in terms of cost to generate electricity. The unit showed below is rated at 100kW, pretty small footprint for a 100kW capacity, don’t you think? Evergreen Solar has released their new ES-A series that claims you will receive the power output rated on the nameplate. Most of the time, solar panels except a few out on the market can guarantee the rated output. With the new ES-A series, if you buy a 200 watt panel, you will be getting 200 watts. The UL4703 cables that are integrated within the solar panel can work with new inverters that are transformer-less, such as the upcoming SMA SunnyBoy 3000HF. The new Evergreen Solar Panel also comes with new extended length cables, which eliminates home-run wiring and lockable connectors that complies with the latest codes for accessibility of solar arrays. The Evergreen ES-A will be offered in 200, 205 and 210watt versions and is backed by a 5 year workmanship and 25 year power warranty. I have to go now, but I have more pictures and videos, more to come soon! Fresh product content and news stright from the source, Solar Power International 2008. Stay...

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Energy Innovations Sunflower Concentrated Solar Power

Energy Innovations, the same company that released the ray tracker has recently a concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) produce designed for commercial roof tops. The Energy Innovations Sunflower concentrates sunlight similar to a magnifying glass onto highly efficient solar cells. We have discussed these types of products in the past, although the SunFlower is the only CPV product on the market that has received UL certification! This means soon the SunFlower will qualify for state incentives, which helps the SunFlower a much more sought after CPV product on the market. The SunFlower system not only magnifies the sun onto solar cells to create an extreme output for a low cost, but it also have a built in tracking system to increase the overall efficiency of the system since the tracking system follows the sun through out the entire day. The tracking system is powered by the energy that the SunFlower creates and is compatible with non roof penetrating mounting systems, making the installation easy and more affordable. As you can see the SunFlower produces more energy through out the course of a day and uses less silicon (the expensive element of the solar panel) thus making the system more cost effective than traditional PV. Since concentrating solar power systems only work in areas with direct rays of sunlight, the systems are most cost effective in areas such as the southwestern us and Hawaii. The light is concentrated 800x onto solar cells that have a 35% efficiency rate! The first units will ship in early 2009, we’re excited to see some of these units deployed in the real world to see how well they will handle heat, what I don’t see on this product is a heatsink or cooling system, how do you think the SunFlower stays cool when its concentrating the sun...

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Sunrgi – Concentrated Solar Power that makes sense!

At one point in our lives, we may have experimented with a magnifying glass and concentrated the sun’s light to start a fire or even more evil, light a ant on fire. With lenses or mirrors the suns light can be concentrated into a very powerful force. Humans have concentrated the sun for a very long time, the first documented case in the 12th century, Archimedes burned up the whole Roman fleet by tilting a mirror toward the sun, concentrating the sun’s light. It seems like the guys at Sunrgi have studied Archimedes. Sunrgi is a US based solar power company that has designed a solar panel which uses the power of concentrating the sun to produce electricity. This product looks very futuristic and is practical too. We have talked about concentrated photovoltaics in the past and understand there could be a heat issue when concentrating light onto a solar cell, although if you notice on Sunrgi’s unit they have a massive heat sink built right into the concentrator, the neat aspect of this concentrated solar panel is that it has a cooling system built in! The company calls their new solar panel line, Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics (XCPV), which magnifies sunlight high efficency solar cells. The company claims that its technology will allow people to produce large ammounts of power at $0.05 (USD) per kWh. Traditional solar photovoltaic panels produce electricity anywhere from $0.13-$0.15 per kWh. This is a very amazing claim the company makes because at $0.05 per kWh this competes with most electric bills, even where people are getting bargain rates from their utility companies. Not only will concentrated compete with traditional electric rate head on, but it will greatly reduce the surface area a customer needs to eliminate their entire electric bill! The Sunrgi Concentrated Solar Panels will be out on the market 12-15 months for now, we can’t wait to get our hands on a couple to test drive...

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