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CPV group to send 'disruptive' message

Emcore and Spectrolab are joining SolFocus and others in the CPV Consortium, with the aim of increasing the small fraction of the solar power market its members currently claim.

Companies producing solar power generating systems using GaAs-based cells are banding together to improve the chances of their voices being heard amid the increasing clamor surrounding the photovoltaic industry.

The group has been founded by US system maker Solfocus and revolves around the companies involved in key deployments of grid-connected concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) plants currently ongoing in Spain.

SolFocus vice president of corporate marketing Nancy Hartsoch extended an open invitation to join the CPV Consortium at the CPV Today conference held in Madrid on April 2.

“What we need is technology that disrupts the way energy is produced and consumed,” said Hartsoch, commenting on the global demand for renewable energy sources. The aims of the CPV Consortium include educating investors, energy generating companies and others unfamiliar with its member companies products that CPV could fulfil that need.

As the two key providers of III-V photovoltaic cells, Emcore and Spectrolab are among the first companies to join the consortium. Other companies already involved include the likes of Isofoton who, like SolFocus, are hoping that the pivotal demonstrations in Castilla La Mancha (see related stories) will validate their photovoltaic systems.

The consortium will also be collaborating to provide data that shows authoritatively that its performance claims are believable and its systems practical. “It s about proving that what we have is real and deployable,” Hartsoch said.

While Hartsoch points out that the consortium can produce this information among its own members, effective external communication with policy and standard setting-organizations is another important goal.

For example although the IEC 62108 standard for CPV modules and assemblies has recently been approved for implementation, some at CPV Today criticized the lack of measures included for direct comparison with silicon solar power generation. This kind of omission is what the CPV Consortium is being formed to deal with.

The fully fledged CPV Consortium will be launched officially in May at the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in San Diego.

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