concentrator pv cell and mirror

Seeing the interest generated in response to my article on the potential CSP applications  promise in meeting some of our growing world energy demands, I'd like to cover more on this high profile energy technology. Gaining insights on the scope of current efforts being expended to push this solar concept forward, will also allow us to take a better look at the rate at which CSP plans are being deployed. In the coming weeks I’ll highlight a few key CSP investments, research efforts and a variety of interesting projects from around the world. While we've seen energy outlooks rattled as a result of the crisis in Japan, I'd like to start with a recently announced CSP R&D project that brings some much needed positive news.
 
In what is likely for Japan a more hopeful step forward on the topic of energy, the launch of the first project borne from an R&D tech partnership between NEDO Japan and the European Commission will focus on concentrating solar cells, an eventful announcement shedding light on energy interests. The project's aim is to bring together expertise in creating the world's most efficient concentrator photovoltaic cell, an international move in support of Solar Thermal Power's potential, and to further explore standardized measurement for concentrator photovoltaic cell technology. Japan and the EU are combining research funds to the tune of $15,310,000 (US) for this project, which will continue it's work through 2014.

Concentrator photovoltaic cells harness the focused effect of lenses or mirrors used to concentrate sunlight. As concentrator photovoltaic cells use a much smaller area they can be manufactured with far less materials while providing significantly higher efficiency in power generation.


Solar efficiency is almost a mantra for those working in solar R&D, and top Japan/EU researchers will be collaborating to this end, pursuing plans to drive CSP PV cell efficiency to a record 45%. Partners on this project from Japan’s research team are Toyota Tech Institute, Sharp Corp, Daido Steel Co., The University of Tokyo, and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Tech, and from the EU - five countries are contributing research bodies including the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems and PSE AG-Germany, Imperial College London-UK, National Agency for New Tech, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development-Italy, BSQ Solar, SL.-Spain, and the National Institute for Solar Energy- France.

Concurrent IEA policy objectives remain vital to this and other energy initiatives worldwide, which include meeting energy demands within environmental considerations, and fostering plans that meet international energy security needs.

Existing and new funding flows into CSP research worldwide supporting STP Plant and Solar Thermal Storage development from major supports via the Ministry of Science and Innovation in Spain, the German Aerospace Center-DLR, the NREL's work on CSP parabolic trough and Advanced CSP, the European Commission, and the IAE’s SolarPACES initiative.

 More Current CSP News
 
DOE Offers $2 Billion in Loans....for Two California CSP Plants - June 14, 2011
 
The DOE loans program currently supports 17 generation projects which will produce over 27 million megawatt-hours annually, or enough to power over two million homes. To date, the program has committed over $10 billion in loan guarantees to solar generation projects. The DOE has also committed financing to support four of the world’s largest solar projects, two geothermal projects, and the world’s largest wind farm.
 
CSP Parabolic Trough Innovations You Can Take to the Bank - June 14, 2011
 
MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tipped for CSP Boom - June 8, 2011
 
The Rise of Concentrating Solar Thermal Power - June 6, 2011


note: CSP-Concentrating Solar Power is also referred to as STP or Solar Thermal Power.

**images credit: DLR / Markus-Steur.de