Wide-acceptance-angle Tracking-integrated micro-Concentrator PhotoVolotaic module for Agrivoltaics.
Ministry of Science and Innovation, State Investigation Agency (AEI). European funding NextGenerationEU
Consolidación Investigadora 2022.
The European Union (EU) seeks to produce ≈30% from renewable energies (RE) by 2030 (EU 2030 Climate strategies & targets) and achieve the carbon neutrality by 2050 (European Green Deal). Moreover, within the context of COVID-19, the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery package aims to prepare a better future for the next EU generation by doing Europe greener, more digital and more resilient. This has become mandatory in the context of the actual Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photovoltaic (PV) technology is signalled as an ideal RE source to boost this ecological transition, due to its competitive price, flexibility, and positive impact on job creation and environment. However, the expected growth of PV capacity in the EU for the next 10 years will be higher than 200 GWp and will require a large amount of land. This could negatively affect other relevant topics of the EU green deal such as the preservation of ecosystems, biodiversity, or even food security. Due to the above, the development of novel high-efficiency PV systems is crucial due to the inherent reduction of the area required and the decrease of raw materials.
Concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) achieves the highest conversion efficiencies among all the terrestrial PV energy systems (30% – 35% at module level) due to the use of high-efficiency solar cells and the increase of PV efficiency with concentration (Cratio). The greatest weaknesses of this technology is related to the use of an external sun tracker to keep the optical elements aligned to the sunrays. This excludes CPV from novel applications such as building integrated (BIPV) or agrivoltaics (APV). APV aims to alleviate the land-use competition between energy and food production and to increase land use efficiency. It consists of the combination of PV power generation and agricultural activities on the same land. The potential of APV is enormous, as the global energy demand could be covered if ≈1% of the croplands were converted into APV.
The main objective of WiT-CPV is to develop a novel wide-acceptance-angle tracking-integrated micro-scale CPV module with acceptance angles ≈50º, concentrations ≈400-800x, and efficiencies > 30% at very low cost <0.9 €/Wp. The development of Wide-acceptance-angle Tracking-integrated micro-concentrator PhotoVolotaic (WiT-CPV) modules operating at Cratio within 400-800x, will result in a step change in current CPV performance. The built-in-tracking mechanism, concentration, transparency, high-efficiency, micro-scaling and expected low cost of WiT-CPV technology makes it suitable for large scale production and assembly, and for multiple applications such as APV or BIPV installations.