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Project CONCENTRPV 2015

Solar concentrating photovoltaic

Power System Research

2015-2015

Vincenzo Fantini

The report describes the activities and the results of the research conducted in the project 'Concentrating photovoltaic', covering the main phases of the chain of concentrating photovoltaic technology (CPV), and that can be divided into aspects relating to the development of the multi-junction cells, thecharacterization under real operating conditions of module prototypes, the development of new focusers of solar radiation and innovative anti-reflection coatings, the testing of a new algorithm for the optimization in the exercise of CPV systems and the collection and management of data on direct solarradiation.

The report describes the activities and the results of the research conducted in the project "Concentrating photovoltaic", covering the main phases of the chain of concentrating photovoltaic technology (CPV), and that can be divided into aspects relating to the development of the multi-junction cells, the characterization under real operating conditions of module prototypes, the development of new focusers of solar radiation and innovative anti-reflection coatings, the testing of a new algorithm for the optimization in the exercise of CPV systems and the collection and management of data on direct solar radiation.

Starting from the analysis of the development perspectives of this technology and its market both globally and nationally, the problems and the results achieved so far are then presented. Increasing the efficiency of the triple-junction cell, previously developed by RSE, requires the improvement of the performance of its “top” sub-cell: to this aim different solutions have been proposed. A further research effort has been performed to increase efficiency and to develop some of the post-growth processes, necessary to realize a miniaturized triple-junction cell (active area of about 4 mm2) able to operate with a solar concentration of approximately 1000 suns. In particular new masks were designed and realized, by electron microscope writing or photolithography, in order to deposit the front-contact grid and the antireflective coating on the miniaturized cell. Some prototypical innovative nanostructured coatings were realized to increase the absorption of the solar radiation into the cell, using a new device specially designed for the purpose.

Some prototypes of modules previously realized by RSE, consisting in a mechanical frame equipped by a protective glass and containing focusers which concentrate the solar radiation on the multi-junction cells mounted on receivers and electrically connected in strings, were characterized under real operating conditions. Some reliability problems in operation of some materials have been highlighted. A new compact focuser for the modules was designed, which has high collection efficiency (84%), operates with a higher solar concentration (from 840 to 900 suns) and has size less than half of the previous one. An original algorithm was developed and characterized operationally for more efficient and rapid tracking of the operating point at the maximum power of a CPV system, of which the patent application was required The database of the solar radiation data provided by the national Consortium partners specially formed for the purpose was further populated and implemented.


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Fantini Vincenzo