Concentrating Photovoltaics 2011: Technology, Costs and Markets

by Chitra Seshan

After decades of R&D, the concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) industry is finally breaking into the utility-scale solar market. GTM Research forecasts new CPV installations to grow from under 5 MW in 2010 to more than 1,000 MW globally by 2015. The key driver enabling CPV to win projects in high-solar resource locations is CPV's ability to provide developers with superior economics, as CPV has a lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) versus the non-concentrating PV alternatives.

Currently, the CPV pipeline is dominated by three system manufacturers: Concentrix Solar, Amonix, and SolFocus. As shown in the chart below, Solar Developers and Independent Power Producers (IPPs), such as Tenaska Solar, Cogentrix, and Sol Orchard have recently partnered with these leading CPV companies to develop large-scale plants in the U.S.

Figure: Global CPV Ecosystem

Note: Click on image above for larger version
Source: GTM Research

GTM Research’s CPV report is the most comprehensive analysis available - with over 70 company profiles and a complete listing of key specifications for all 170 CPV projects in operation or under development worldwide. The report focuses on CPV’s competitive position within the greater solar market, and compares High, Medium, and Low CPV versus non-concentrating solar options on key metrics including: installed cost per watt, capacity factor, land usage, O&M costs, current and forecasted LCOE, and bankability.

Note: Click on image above for larger version
Source: GTM Research
Chitra Seshan Analyst-at-Large


Chitra Seshan has been analyzing technology and high-tech companies for decades; first in the hard disk drive industry, and more recently in the solar industry.

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