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SolFocus CPV Solar Systems Installed at U.S.-Mexico Border Region

The new solar power project with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) demonstrates the promise of clean power, economic growth and bilateral partnership.

SolFocus has installed a 16.8 kilowatt (Kw) installation of high-concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems at the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) BECC offices in the United States-Mexico border city of Juarez, Mexico.

The SolFocus installation that includes two solar arrays, will produce 43.13 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, and is powering roughly one-third of the office building’s needs. This is the first CPV installation in the Northern Mexico border region. Private sector partners SolFocus and Sonnergía worked with public sector partner BECC to bring this project to fruition.

“At BECC, we focus on the technical, environmental and social aspects of project development, and work with communities and project sponsors in the U.S.-Mexico border region to develop, finance and build affordable and self-sustaining projects that address a human health or environmental need,” said Daniel Chacón, general manager, BECC. “Bringing together SolFocus and local developer Sonnergía demonstrates the importance of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico on environmental and economic policies and potential business developments in clean energy technologies for this region’s sustainable economic growth.”

“As a local developer, we knew that SolFocus CPV technology, with its high energy yield, was the best-suited technology for the border region,” said Jose Medina, president of Sonnergía. “Sonnergía’s work with BECC and SolFocus demonstrates that a stable energy infrastructure is important to U.S.-Mexico relations, border security and the regional economy of both the United States and Mexico.”

The U.S.-Mexico border region has significant solar resources that make it an ideal environment for CPV technology. A constant source of intense sunrays provides an annual average of seven to eight kilowatt hours per square meter daily, providing enough energy to power municipalities, airports, colleges and industrial complexes. BECC aims to achieve a wider-spread deployment of advanced photovoltaics in the border region over time, thus improving the local environmental conditions, increasing employment opportunities and helping the country meet national policy goals for renewable energy deployment and greenhouse gas reductions.

“With renewable development, the border region could easily become a showcase for sustainable economic development and trade projects,” said Mark Crowley, president and CEO of SolFocus. “BECC is building a bright, clean and prosperous future by deploying solar technology, and in choosing the highly efficient SolFocus CPV systems, it will reap the most energy possible from the region’s immense solar resources.”

SolFocus CPV technology employs a system of patented reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 650 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells. The SolFocus SF-1100S system deployed at the BECC office uses approximately 1/1,000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional photovoltaic panels. In addition, the cells utilized in SolFocus CPV systems have more than twice the efficiency of traditional silicon photovoltaic cells.

SolFocus also offers environmental benefits including next-to-no water usage, a small land footprint, no permanent shadowing or wildlife corridor disruption and dual use of land. SolFocus CPV also provides the shortest energy payback and lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of any solar technology. In solar-rich regions like Northern Mexico, the SolFocus CPV technology yields significantly more energy than other technologies with an extremely light environmental footprint.

The SolFocus mission is to enable solar energy generation at a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) competitive with traditional fossil fuel sources. To achieve this goal, SolFocus has developed leading concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology that combines high-efficiency solar cells (approaching 40 %) and advanced optics to provide solar energy solutions which are scalable, dependable and capable of delivering on the promise of clean, low-cost, renewable energy.
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