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III BSc Physics
Concentrator Photovoltaics

 Technology that uses lenses or curved mirrors

to focus sunlight to solar cells that are
 small
 highly efficient and
 Are multijunction cells
 CPV systems often use solar trackers and
sometimes a cooling system to further
increase their efficiency
Advantages of CPVs

 Highly Efficient.
 Less PV material, hence less cost
 Higher productivity throughout the day due
to tracking
 Additional use of waste heat possible for
systems with active cooling possible
(e.g.large mirror systems)
Limitations of CPVs

 Suitable only for areas with high direct normal

 HCPV (High concentration PV) cannot utilize diffuse
radiation. LCPV can only utilize a fraction of diffuse
 Sensitive to weather (so it’s difficult in India)
 Requires sophisticated tracking systems
 Requires sophisticated cooling systems
 With concentrated sunlight, formation of hot spots
is possible
This Amonix system in Las Vegas, USA consists of thousands of small
Fresnel lenses, each focusing sunlight to ~500X higher intensity onto a
tiny, high-efficiency multi-junction solar cell. A Tesla Roadster is shown
for scale.
This is one of the common types of concentrator cells based on Fresnel
lens, which takes the parallel beam sunlight and directs it to a small area.
For an effective use of the Fresnel CPV system, two-axis sun tracking is
needed to ensure that the rays are perpendicular to the lens.
Grid Connected Solar Installations

 Electricity can power household appliances or

can be sold directly to the grid.
 A backup system is frequently required to
ensure continuous supply of electricity
irrespective of the weather conditions.
 Most commonly used in houses or commercial
buildings to offset electricity cost.
 The utility company pays for extra electricity
that is supplied to the grid
The Duck Curve
 The Duck Curve is a graph of power production
that shows the timing imbalance between peak
demand and renewable energy production.
 This is a limitation of Grid Connected systems
 The peak demand occurs mostly after sunset,
when solar power is no longer available.
 Thus the graph resembles the silhouette of a
duck, thus the name.
 Can be mitigated by using energy storage, such as
Tesla’s Powerpack or Powerwall, a large scale Li
Ion battery storage system.
Off-the-Grid Solar Installations

 A battery is used with solar to power a house without

connecting to the grid
 The primary functions of a storage battery in a stand-alone PV
system are:
 To store energy when there is an excess is available and to
provide it when required.
 Voltage and Current Stabilization.
 To provide surge currents to loads like motors when
 A well designed PV system with a proper storage facility can
be an attractive prospect for going off-grid completely.
Example – A house with a solar roof and a Tesla Powerwall
(seen in next slide)
A standalone house that mostly does not consume energy from the grid:
Solar roof powers the home at day, extra energy stored in Tesla
Powerwall (seen in the wall of garage) which provides energy at night.

 Street lamps that have an integrated solar panel

and rechargeable batteries
 Solar Panel charges batteries in the day,
 Provide Light at Night
 Modern designs use sensors to automatically
detect the night and day cycle. The lamps are
turned on or off automatically
 Minimal operational costs
 Less maintenance
 Energy savings
 Non polluting

 High investment
 Risk of theft
 Snow or Dust can accumulate on the panel
 Batteries have to be replaced often
Solar street light

 Signals required by communication systems

require amplification after some distance.
 These sites are generally away from power
 Solar with energy storage can be used to
power the repeaters
Electricity for remote areas:

 Some areas are quite far from the

distribution network to establish
connection with the grid.
 Areas under construction also need power
supply before they are connected.
 Here stand alone solar systems can be
Disaster Relief

 Disasters such as hurricanes, floods,

tornadoes, and earthquakes destroy
electricity generation and distribution
 Portable PV systems can provide temporary
solutions for light, communication, food and
water systems.
 Emergency health clinics opt for PV based
electricity over conventional systems due to
problems of fuel transport and pollution.
Scientific Experiments

 Where the experiments are in isolated

 For example, monitoring
 Seismic activity
 Highway conditions
 Meteorological Information, etc
Signal Systems

 Lighthouses, highway and air control

signals can be far from the grid.
 Even portable traffic lights can use PV for
power supply
Water Pumping

 Due to need for water during bright

sunshine, PV is ideal.
 Can be used for pumping directly for
irrigation or for water storage
Vehicle Charging Stations

 Electric Vehicles are becoming increasingly

common, and will probably take over the
transportation sector in a few decades.
 Charging stations can use PV for power
generation and batteries for storage.
Cathodic Protection

 Pipelines, well heads and other metallic

structures are prone to corrosion due to
exposure to water.
 The electrolytic activity of metals as they
lose ions in contact with water can be
reduced by providing small DC voltage.
 Thus, PV can be used directly

 Transporting temperature sensitive items

like medicines or vaccines can be done
using PV based solar systems
Consumer Products

 Consumer products with low power

requirement can use PV cells
 E.g. Watches, calculators, radios, fans, TVs,
flashlights, cell phone rechargers,etc
Public Utilities
 Like solar street lights, utilities such as
ATMs, automatic vending machines,
telephone booths, etc can use PV energy
Future Applications (Not possible now)

 Wearables
 Transparent PV cells
 Flexible cells