Solar Junction, which makes the most-efficient, commercially available PV cells and Amonix, which makes the most efficient concentrating photovoltaic arrays, have partnered to produce a joint CPV solution. Under the partnership Solar Junction will provide it’s multi-junction PV cells to Amonix in an attempt to bring the cost of CPV systems down.
The companies announced the partnership Feb. 25. Both hope that partnering their efficiency leading technologies—Solar Junction’s PV cells have reached 44 percent efficiency at 942 suns and Amonix’ concentrator systems have reached 33.5 percent efficiency—will lead to even more efficient technologies. “Amonix and Solar Junction expect to achieve a greater than 35 percent to 37 percent DC module efficiency in the near term (2013),” said Vijit Sabnis, Ph.D., Solar Junction’s vice president of technology and co-founder. “The longer term goal is to then follow up and achieve an efficiency of 40% or higher.” The most efficient conventional PV in the field today is roughly 20 percent, so the combined effort would far surpass that.
"This agreement solidifies a new partnership between two advanced technology leaders in CPV," said Pat McCullough, Chief Executive Officer at Amonix. "It's our goal, by combining our world record module technology with Solar Junction's world record solar cell, that we can increase efficiencies while driving CPV costs down. The results of this collaboration, and its lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), will be revealed soon." If CPV is to compete with conventional photovoltaics and thin-film photovoltaics it has to reduce the LCOE.
The companies have worked together in the past, according to Sabnis. “Amonix and Solar Junction have been working together for the last couple of years in more of a typical supplier/customer relationship,” he said. “The JDA that we announced brings the technical and product development teams to co-create a very low cost, high performance CPV system that marries our cell technology with Amonix's concentrating optical technology and two-axis tracking.”
Since Amonix’ systems are designed to be interchangeable with cell suppliers, it’s not likely that the companies will have to significant retrofits to either company’s equipment, as such they’re likely to be able to speed a combined product to market. Indeed, “The CPV product offering emanating from this work will hit the market as early as late this year in the form of demos and next year as a commercial product,” Sabnis said.