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Soitec lights up California with III-V based solar modules

A new plant in San Bernardino County uses Soitec’s fifth generation Concentrix CX-S530 CPV systems
Soitec Solar Development, LLC has completed construction of the 1.5 MWAC Newberry Solar 1 project in San Bernardino County, California.

Renewable power generated by Newberry Solar 1 will be sold to Southern California Edison under a 20-year power purchase agreement. It is the largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) power plant in California, featuring Soitec’s latest and most efficient technology with modules manufactured in nearby San Diego.

“This announcement represents a major milestone for Soitec in establishing its newest generation of CPV technology and a critical step in our ambitious deployment plans in the region,” says Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president of Soitec’s Solar Energy Division.

“Newberry Solar 1 is the first solar power plant constructed in the U.S. with our most advanced CPV modules shipped directly from our new San Diego manufacturing facility. With a current production capacity of 280 MWp and a worldwide pipeline of solar power plant projects totalling hundreds of megawatts, we’re very happy to show that our new product is now shipping and can be installed and operational in a very short timeframe.” 

The Newberry Solar 1 power plant connects directly to Southern California Edison’s distribution network and will provide approximately 500 Southern California homes with clean, renewable energy while offsetting the emission of almost 2,300 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The power plant uses Soitec’s fifth generation Concentrix CX-S530 CPV systems, designed as Soitec’s next step towards achieving a Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar power plants in the sunniest regions of the world.

Soitec CX-S530-II CPV System

With a module area of over 100 square meters (1,130 square feet), one Soitec CX-S530 generates a capacity of 28 kWp. The size of the system is optimised to deliver high performance while drastically reducing costs for manufacturing, installation and maintenance.

The system utilises 12 of the large Soitec CX-M500 modules and delivers an efficiency of 30 percent, about twice the efficiency of conventional photovoltaic panels.

The 720 CX-M500 modules used at Newberry Solar 1 were manufactured in Soitec’s new North American manufacturing headquarters in San Diego on fully automated assembly lines, ensuring high-precision manufacturing. The factory, commissioned in December 2012, is currently targeted to reach its full capacity of 280 MWp by October 2013, making Soitec the third largest solar module manufacturer in the U.S.

With installations in 18 countries around the world, Soitec’s CPV technology is proving its competitiveness to generate solar power, largely due to its higher production yields throughout the sunlight hours.

What's more, CPV technology’s ability to operate without cooling water, withstand hot ambient temperatures and have minimal environmental impact makes it well suited for use in desert areas.

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