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Soitec’s CPV System Connected to Jordan's Grid is “Excellent”

This confirms the readiness for large-scale deployment of solar farms in the MENA Region. The company's technology, which is designed for use by large-scale solar power plants in hot and arid regions, is claimed to provide the highest efficiency.

Soitec a leading supplier of advanced solutions for the electronics and energy industries has reported excellent results for the company's concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system in Jordan, which is connected to the nation's electrical grid.

The system, which was jointly installed with Azur Space Solar Power, ran continuously through the extremely hot summer and fall months, demonstrating full reliability and excellent results under the most demanding conditions.

Soitec's Concentrix CPV systems are also running at other locations in the MENA (Middle East and North African) region ; the firm has five CPV systems installed in Egypt (in the Wadi El Natrun desert valley, near Cairo), as well as a system connected to the grid in Oman (at the Ar Rusayl industrial park near Muscat. The company is also involved in Abu Dhabi's Masdar initiative to demonstrate the value of CPV technology for the region.

The company's technology, which is designed for use by large-scale solar power plants in hot and arid regions, is claimed to provide the highest efficiency of all solar technologies available. The systems are modular, flexible and have ultra-low water consumption.

After more than six months of operation, the system in Jordan provides an example confirming the excellent results of CPV technology in conditions of extreme heat, sunshine and dust. The average solar-to-grid efficiency reached 21%, with daily peak efficiencies regularly reaching 25% and beyond (2 to 3 times higher than standard photovoltaic installations, even in ambient temperatures of up to 45°C).

The system has been running on a continuous basis, with 100% uptime, demonstrating its reliability in a harsh environment. The measurement data confirm that the annual specific electricity yield will be as high as 2500 kWh/kW of installed nominal AC power. This high value is a result of the site's high level of direct solar irradiation in combination with the great performance of the system.

"Very high performance even under very high temperatures, and the fact that our systems require no water at all for cooling: these are the two advantages to highlight in the MENA region," says Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, Senior VP Customer Group of the Solar Energy Business Unit of Soitec. "We have proven with real systems that our technology is best suited for the region, and we are ready for high-volume deployment."

Due to the very-low-temperature coefficient of their III-V multifunction concentrator solar cells, the performance of CPV systems is much less affected by temperature than any other PV technology, particularly those that are silicon-based. In fact, in extreme heat, silicon-based PV systems, Soitec says, suffer from a three times greater loss in efficiency when compared to systems such as Concentrix CPV technology, which is based on III-V semiconductor materials.

 For this reason the technology shows best performance even during summer when electricity demand is particularly high due to air conditioning requirement – and all this, without any requirement of cooling water. This makes CPV technology perfectly suited for power plant installations in arid areas like in the MENA region.

Due to the technology's high scalability, CPV power plants can be commissioned in phases, thereby shortening the time to operation. In fact, the first units installed and connected to the grid can immediately start to produce energy, even while the installation of subsequent systems is in progress. Once operational, CPV's peak production hours align with the region's peak electricity demands from air conditioning.

Soitec will exhibit its Concentrix CPV technology at the World Future Energy Summit, in the French Pavilion, booth #8403 on January 17-20 in Abu Dhabi.
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