Reporting from the Intersolar show in San Francisco, Calif.-- We're starting to see small signs of progress in concentrating photovoltaics (CPV).


SolFocus VP of Sales and Marketing, Nancy Hartsoch, spoke at an insightfully moderated panel at Intersolar on Monday afternoon.  After a bleak 2009, SolFocus now considers itself an emerging growth company, rather than a startup, and expects to have 10 megawatts of CPV systems "in the ground by the end of the year," including the "largest CPV plant in North America -- the one-megawatt CPV installation at Victor Valley College."

Because of the low cost of money at the Victor Valley installation, Hartsoch claims that the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) was $0.085 per kilowatt-hour.

In solar environments with a DNI greater than six, SolFocus' 26 percent efficiency panels make sense.  In areas with DNI ratings below six, however, other technologies are more suitable.

Hartsoch sees the U.S. as the growth market for this technology.

Concentrix Solar

Concentrix Solar, German-based CPV vendor, funded by Good Energies and recently purchased by Soitec, just announced the opening of a U.S. office, added more people, and celebrated a CEC listing.

“With the development and growing importance of solar farms in the U.S., the time is right for us to form our U.S. venture,” said Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, CEO of Concentrix Solar. 

The company’s new U.S. subsidiary -- Concentrix Solar, Inc. -- is based in San Diego, where Concentrix Solar installed a CPV demonstration system in July 2009 to test its solar modules under California’s climate conditions. Since its installation, the six-kilowatt system has demonstrated 25 percent efficiency.

Concentrix' multi-junction CPV module has achieved a listing with the California Energy Commission (CEC), a listing vital to doing business in California and a key step in financing commercial projects with customers and state energy utilities. 

The listing helped Concentrix Solar win a project with Chevron Technology Ventures to install the energy giant’s first megawatt solar farm in the U.S. at a site in New Mexico. Construction has begun on this project, which will be one of the largest CPV power plants ever built in the U.S.  It is scheduled for completion before the end of this year.

Amonix and Solaria

Add this to the recent Amonix funding by KPCB and Solaria's funding and Dan Shugar hire -- and maybe we're seeing a CPV resurgence.