Soitec Award DoD Concentrated Solar PV Contract

French electronics company Soitec (Euronext) has signed with the U.S. Department of Defence to provide a one-megawatt concentrated photovoltaic demonstration system at Fort Irwin, California.

The project is one of 22 clean energy initiatives selected from 468 proposals under the DoD’s Installation Energy Test Bed scheme; part of a wider Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) that is designed to improve energy efficiency and security at American military bases.

“Fort Irwin Energy team is very excited and looking forward to participate in this ESTCP demonstration project. This project will not only prove an efficient CPV renewable energy technology but also pave a path forward towards Energy surety and security at Fort Irwin,” said Muhammad Bari, Fort Irwin’s Director of Public Works.

The demonstration plant will use Soitec’s Concentrix 5th-generation CPV dual-axis tracking technology with 480 CPV solar modules to help provide power to the daily population of 25,000 at Irwin’s National Training Centre. The system will offset carbon emissions by 1,850 tons each year.

“Our technology is perfectly suited for desert locations as it shows almost no degradation even under very harsh environmental conditions,” said Clark Crawford, Soitec’s Vice President of Sales and Business Development USA.

Soitec’s concentrated photovoltaic panels incorporate Fresnel lens technology; which magnifies sunlight up to 500 times and focuses it onto 2,400 tiny multi-junction solar cells on each module.

Soitec’s CX-S530 system is one of the largest of its type on the market, with a total module surface area of 100 square-metres and a capacity of 30 kilowatts peak. The Fort Irwin CPV facility will use 12 of these systems and is expected to be brought online in 2014.

“This project will allow the Department of Defense to showcase Soitec’s CPV technology, demonstrating future government applications consistent with the goals of improving energy security and expanding the development of renewable energy,” said Crawford.