Israel has inaugurated what it claims to be the first solar farm of its kind.
The Israeli ZenithSolar based concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) installation uses reflectors arranged in a dish to concentrate light onto high efficiency solar cells.
While this technology has been implemented in many installations; the Israeli solar farm combines it with a water-based cooling system that not only dramatically boosts solar cell efficiency, but also turns the operational threat of overheating into a benefit by providing hot water suitable for use in homes.
The ZenithSolar optical dish technology is capable of harnessing up to 75 percent of incoming sunlight – four to five times the efficiency of traditional solar panels.
In traditional solar panel based farms, the number of solar cells needed contributes significantly to the cost; but by using mirrors to reduce the number of cells required; this makes the cost of solar energy generated electricity roughly comparable to fossil fuels, says the company. According to Professor David Faiman, Director of Israel’s National Solar Energy Center, the use of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s light means the amount of photovoltaic material needed is reduced by a factor of a thousand.
As with standard solar panels, the ZenithSolar systems are highly recyclable and the majority of the system can also be made from recycled materials. While electronics and control systems use 100% virgin materials and are not recyclable, these account for less than 5% of overall system’s weight.
A related article on the Christian Science Monitor states 1 in 7 households in Israel currently utilise solar panels and in June last year; the Israeli government introduced a feed in tariff to further stimulate uptake of solar power. Like most parts of Australia, Israel is a perfect location for solar power generation, with some locations in the country experiencing up to 330 days of sunshine a year.