Greenfield Solar’s new concentrating solar power (CSP) generator tracks the sun, concentrates sunlight 900 times, and produces 1.5 kilowatts, plus they hope to sell it for about $6,000 installed. What makes the Greenfield Solar set up different than other panels is the computerized electro-mechanical sun tracking system and its unique 40 layer edge mounted solar cells. The solar concentrator is designed to track the sun from sunup to sundown, thereby generating power much longer during the day than fixed solar panels.
The PhotoVolt designed ‘edge illuminated’ 40 layer solar cells are actually chips, much smaller than a penny – the cell structure looks like a stack of pancakes, cut in half and then turned on edge. The edge mounting allows light to penetrate the silicon wafer edge and for electricity to be efficiently routed through the low resistance junctions at the cell’s other end. Each Greenfield solar concentrator contains 200 chips laid out in two strips measuring 10 inches by 1 3/4 inches – the cells are about 20 percent efficient in generating electricity.
Two Ohio based utilities – Duke Energy and American Electric Power have ordered Greenfield Solar concentrators for testing purposes. Depending on how the testing goes, Duke Energy will explore various options for deployment, because in addition to generating electricity, the concentrators produce waste heat that could be used for heating buildings. In addition the US Government has bought two for testing purposes. Roshanak Hakimzadeh, chief of the PV and Power Technologies Branch at NASA Lewis, says that, “We are going to tie them to the building’s grid and have them generate some electricity. And we’d like to use the waste heat, hook it up to a radiator, and actually heat the conference room.”
For more information on Greenfield Solar, go here.