He may be biased, but Pedro Cacorino believes Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic power is the future of energy generation.
Cacorino, CEO of Portuguese CPV company Magpower, told a group gathered at the Solar Power Generation USA conference in Las Vegas last week that he sees CPV outshining traditional photovoltaic solar panels in the global market.
“I’m a recent person in solar,” Cacorino said. “For someone like me to change completely his profession, his work, his project in life, I have to really believe in something.”
And he does really believe in CPV technology.
It started when someone explained to him that holding a sheet of paper in the sun turns it yellow and putting a lens over the sheet of paper burns it.
“Of course, we do not want to burn the solar cells, but we’re not getting everything we can from them,” Cacorino said.
CPV works, he said. One of Magpower’s 500-kilowatt solar arrays in the southern part of Portugal produces 4.39 percent more power than promised and an average of 46 percent more than the traditional photovoltaic installation in the same solar park.
He said the CPV technology produces significantly more than standard PV, especially in sunny areas.
“We have days where we produce almost twice what PV is producing in high DNI locations,” Cacorino said. “The average is 71 percent more in high DNI areas.”
Where CPV does not outperform PV is in rainy, snowy and cloudy weather. CPV actually produces less power than standard PV in those circumstances.
But, as not every day is rainy or cloudy, CPV panels still produce 7.39 percent more than PV panels in low-sun areas, he said.
The issue, the reason CPV isn’t more popular even in those low-sun locations, is cost. While CPV produces more power, it also costs more, and 7.39 percent more power isn’t enough more to justify the added expense, Cacorino said.
“We have the possibility of driving down the costs,” he said. “We will one day drive down the price low enough to justify that 7.3 percent.”