In this technology introduction report, we introduce you to the relatively new HCPV technology. HCPV is the abbreviation for (Heliostat Concentrator Photovoltaic) and refers to a high-efficient solar technology, generally in conjunction with specialized sun-tracking systems that aim at harvesting the maximum amount of sunlight at a specified geographical location for maximum power output. HCPV is an efficient technology that is especially interesting for regions with high sun radiation.
HCPV technology introduction
HCPV is a special solar technology cum PV tracking system equipped with special mirrors collectors or so-called heliostats. In HCPV systems the sunlight is beamed from these heliostats to the solar modules. The concentrated light is then directly converted to power. As compared to more common PV cell technologies such as A-Si, CdTe and C-Si, the conversion efficiency of HCPV is much higher-achieving between 30% and 32, and with current existing CPV cell efficiency of up to 43.9%. Theoretically, HCPV can absorb a greater spectrum such leading to a theoretical efficiency of over 70%. This makes HCPV the currently output-wise most powerful and efficient solar technology.
A standard HCPV systems consists of the following components:
– module with optics
– receiver with heat sink and secondary optics
The specialty of HCPV systems as compared to normal PV technologies lies in the application of lenses, providing optimal performance only at direct sun irradiation. As the sun changes its position in sky in the course of a day, an HCPV system follows the sun with the help of a tracking system, ensuring the continuous supply of the system with direct sunlight.
Less efficiency attenuation for HCPV amounts to only to 6% in 25 years, while c-Si loses 20% in the same period of time. Subsequently, the energy payback time of HCPV is far shorter than that of c-Si or CdTe. In addition to its high performance, also production cost of HCPV systems are comparably low as major components consist of glass or concrete.
However, low costs at major spare parts are however partly offset when meeting high-quality standards: particularly crucial success barriers are the necessary high quality of the lenses, the accuracy of the solar tracking system, and the cooling of the cells integrated into the HCPV system.
HCPV systems are especially potential in areas with high DNI (Direct Normal Radiation) which means at least an average daily DNI of 5 â€“ 6 kWh/mÂ² per day. They are especially high-performing in deserts and other areas with rough climates, particularly in North Africa, Southern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, and Australia. HCPV systems are in that sense particularly suitable as space- and cost-saving off-grid power systems for people living in these remote and rough areas.
HCPV is a particularly interesting for geographical areas with high, constant sun radiation such as the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. Yet, like many other systems – and HCPV systems due to the tracking technology even more – need at least occasional supervision and maintenance, especially when applied in areas with the frequent climatic impact of particles in the air (dust, sand, etc.) covering the heliostats and panels and thus significantly lowering the efficiency of the system. Therefore, for keeping costs low, they are optimally applied in hot, climatically stable, and not too remote areas.
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