A photovoltaic technology that generates electricity by concentrating sunlight onto solar cells.
Solar Novus Today – www.solarnovus.com– by Anne Fischer 15 June 2015
Concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) is a photovoltaic technology that generates electricity by concentrating sunlight onto solar cells. Traditionally CPV installations require large reflecting dishes and they’re found mostly in wide open areas, such as the desert southwest in the US. Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign have been working on the design of microscale concentrated solar for residential rooftops. The article “Microscale Concentrating Photovoltaics on the Rooftop,” describes the research.
The key to the microscale design are the two plastic lenslet arrays, which direct the sunlight onto the CPV cells. One array was used as a refractive surface collimating the light, and the other was coated with a reflective coating reflecting the collimated light from the first lenslet array onto the microcells. The sunlight can be focused efficiently (intensified as much as 200 times) by combining the refractive lenslet array with the concave mirror array at the bottom. The team chose to make the plastic lenslet array using 3D printing technology called Printoptical by Luxexcel. The result is that not only were size and weight reduced, but cost as well.