HCPV Technology Basics

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 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:

– cells
– receiver
– module with optics
– receiver with heat sink and secondary optics
– panels
– tracker
– battery
– inverter

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 applications
HCPV systems are especially potential in areas with high DNI (Direct Normal Radiation) which means at least an average daily DNI of 5 – 6 kWh/m² 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.

 

 

 

Conclusion

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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About the author
Niclas is Chief Technology Officer at Sinovoltaics Group. Sinovoltaics Group assists PV developers, EPCs, utilities, financiers and insurance companies worldwide with the execution of ZERO RISK SOLAR projects - implemented by our multinational team of solar PV-specialized quality engineers and auditors on-site in Asia. Niclas has been living and working in Asia for over 10 years, including Mainland China, Taiwan, India and Iran. He is solar PV quality specialist with extensive experience with manufacturers in Asia and has before worked on clean energy projects at UNIDO and Grameen Shakti. Connect with Niclas on LinkedIn
N. Ravi rao
By

N. Ravi rao

on 01 Feb 2011

-We are an association of 4 industries, required to progressively install 15Mw of solar HCPV solution for telecom towers. -capacity ranging from 1Kw to 10kw would like to know your support and pricing for low qty for trials for pilot 1Kw and 3Kw and volume supply . thanks and regds Ravi rao S R Electronics Bangalore India

Vinay Kumar
By

Vinay Kumar

on 03 Mar 2011

Dear Mr. N Ravi Rao SUNTRIX is a leading CPV company in China, focusing on HCPV technology development and system integration. The SCPV-500, developed by SUNTRIX, has been into mass production stage, with efficiency up to 25% stably. In the meanwhile, more efficient products and higher concentration ratio systems have also been in the stage of pilot production, and will be ready for market soon. SUNTRIX is the main company to draft China CPV standard. Through almost three years research and development, SUNTRIX has owned complete intellectual properties with 8 invention patents. SUNTRIX HCPV panel has passed the test conducted by the national authoritative testing agency for PV panels and achieved the desired targets. February 2010, accompanied by the leaders of New Energy Department of National Bureau of Energy and Shanghai Development and Reform Commission Energy Department, Mr. Xu Dingming, the State counselor, director of the National Energy Technical Advisory Committee and the former chief of National Bureau of Energy, visited our company, and granted firm supports to us. For more information please contact us at: vinaykumar@suntrix.cn

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