Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Concentrator-solar photovoltaic power at a quarter the cost: Morgan Solar Sun Simba HCPV


morgan solar sun simba hcpv photo

I was going to wait until Morgan Solar actually opened its demonstration project at the Earth Rangers Center in Ontario sometime later this month, but after seeing some more info on their new concentrating-solar technology in Greentech Media I couldn't wait.

The payoff first: Morgan Solar claims that its new technology will cost one-quarter as much as traditional concentrating-solar. Quite a claim, but how will Morgan Solar's system, which they've dubbed the Sun Simba HCPV (High Concentating Photovoltaic), actually work?

morgan solar vesus competitors comparison image

Low Cost, Lightweight, Recyclable Materials
Unlike current concentrating-solar designs which use lenses or reflectors to direct the sunlight onto solar cells, Morgan Solar’s uses what it is calling a “Light-guide Solar Optic” made of acrylic which concentrates sunlight 750 times onto multilayered solar cells at the edge of the plastic. The company says that their system eliminates the bulkiness of traditional CPV systems, is extremely low cost, uses no toxic materials and is 100% recyclable.

In an interview with Greentech Media, Morgan Solar’s director of business development Nicolas Morgan described the system in a bit more detail:

Two triangular optics are put together in a package about the size and shape of a CD case, each drawing light to one corner of the concentrator [...] A panel will consist of 80 to 100 of these CD-case-like arrangements [...] By guiding light to the edge – not the bottom – of a panel, the concentrator releases heat instead of trapping it and doesn't overheat.

morgan solar sun simba hcpv cutaway photo

Prototype Working Within the Month
Morgan Solar’s demonstration prototype, which I mentioned at the beginning of the post, will be one square meter in size; production panels are expected to be about 1.5x1.0 meters.

Commercial Production By End of 2009?
Though there are multiple hurdles to overcome before bringing this technology to the commercial stage, Morgan Solar expects to do so by the end of 2009. Provided all goes well between now and then, this could be definitely one to watch.

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