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Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

More efficient concentrated photovoltaics thanks to anti-reflecting coatings and a new DC-DC converter

2019.01.16

The experimental devices developed have reached the record of efficiency in solar power converted into electricity

Concentrated PhotoVoltaic (CPV) solar power uses different optical devices (such as lenses or mirrors) to concentrate a large amount of solar radiation on a small area of photovoltaic cells and hence generate electricity.

Research and development aim to reduce costs, related to the need for a smaller photovoltaic area, and increase the conversion efficiency offered by the cells of these systems.

Some of our developments are leading to this increase in efficiency. For example, an anti-reflecting material ensures that light, which would otherwise be lost, is converted into energy.

The family of anti-reflecting coatings known as ARGICOAT® can also be used in dual surface photovoltaic systems (systems capable of generating electricity on both sides), in anti-reflecting glass for transportation, in anti-soiling treatments or for the construction sector.

Another development, a direct-direct converter (DC-DC) at module level (known as power optimizer in the sector), significantly increases electricity production. The design has achieved maximum efficiency values of up to 98.6% and a European efficiency of more than 98% with a cost of around 15 c€/Wp.

This converter is a reliable and cheap alternative to the centralised inverter or string-type inverter solutions: particularly in photovoltaic systems in which there are functioning differences between modules from the same array due to shadows, different radiation and temperature conditions (because of different angles of orientation-inclination on buildings...).

In the same way as with anti-reflecting coatings, the DC-DC converter can be used in other areas beyond CPV: in the automotive industry as it enables the maximum power available to be obtained in circumstances of shadows or in panels with different curvatures.

The experimental devices developed within the framework of CPVMatch have reached the record of efficiency in solar power converted into electricity (41.4%).

Further information

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* This project has been funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 640873.

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