Concentrated Solar Energy Plant To Power COP17

South Africa’s first Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) plant will be supplying electricity for the 17th annual Conference of the Parties (COP17) climate talks in Durban.
  
Soitec (Euronext) constructed the 500kW facility in just a month. The CPV plant will be officially inaugurated by South African President Dr. Jacob. G. Zuma on December 4.
  
A 10-meter-high solar panel tracking system is also installed at the entrance to COP17’s Climate Change Response Expo, which will be used to charge electric vehicles and to provide visitors a close-up look at CPV technology. Guided tours of the fully functional solar plant, located around 25 kilometres outside of Durban, will also be offered twice daily from December 5 through December 9.
  
Soitec’s Concentrix Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) technology was created at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute. 
  
Fresnel lenses are used to concentrate sunlight 500 times and focus it onto small, multi-junction solar cells, achieving AC system efficiency increases of 25% in real world conditions says the company – almost twice as high as the efficiency increases achieved using conventional silicon systems. Multi-junction solar cells were originally developed for space applications.
  
Soitec Solar has already installed 3MW capacity of its Concentrix product in power plants in Southern Europe, South Africa and the USA and will soon commence construction of another module factory in the US
  
“CPV offers South Africa huge potential for its natural resource and climate protection,” said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, president and CEO of Soitec.
  
Soitec says CPV technology operates without cooling water, can withstand hot ambient temperatures and accommodates the dual use of land with minimal environmental impact, making it very suitable for use for large scale solar farms throughout South Africa.
 
Earlier this month, the company announced it had entered into a partnership with US based Reflexite Energy Solutions Inc to produce the silicone-on-glass (SOG) Fresnel lens plates used in Soitec’s concentrator photovoltaic modules and to co-develop next-generation technologies to further enhance efficiencies and lower the costs of SOG lens plates.