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New JV to propel III-V multi-junction solar cell technology

Southwest Solar Technologies and MaxQ Power Conversion LLC are collaborating to drive the commercialisation of SST's compound semiconductor solar power technology

 Southwest Solar's CPV product combines advanced high efficiency multi-junction solar cells with innovative approaches in concentrator optics, power electronics, and efficient manufacturing.

The design incorporates a unique solar flux management capability that enables non-uniform light intensity to be used. This makes it possible to use the CPV product with either dish or heliostat collectors designed for concentrated solar power.

Under the Agreement, the parties will cooperate to develop and manufacture Southwest Solar’s patent pending dense array CPV module that packages numerous multi-junction photovoltaic cells into a compact, high concentration, solar power generation module where a solar concentration ratio of 1200-times is achieved. 

Extremely high energy flows from this concentration can cause heating that can reduce solar cell performance. To manage this thermal intensity, the system utilises a closed loop liquid cooling system in the form of an advanced cold plate technology developed by MaxQ. This MaxQ cold plate technology is currently successfully used in high power electronic conversion systems in the electric vehicle and inverter industries.

Unique internal fin construction and manufacturing methods provide efficient cooling for the solar cells. The cold plates are manufactured using the Friction Stir Welding process and a patent pending design which allows Max Q to incorporate unique structures with high thermal performance, low pressure drops, and very high reliability. Minimal material is used to achieve light weight at low cost.

This CPV advancement is part of Southwest Solar’s integrated development plan centred on the Company’s solar dish concentrator, one of the largest commercial solar dishes in North America. The Company previously announced the successful proof of concept testing of its integrated Dish concentrator and air-based open cycle turbine to produce electricity.

Southwest Solar's new patent pending design utilises currently available multi-junction solar cells combined with innovative approaches to concentrator optics, thermal management, power electronics, and manufacturing processes. In addition to leveraging the advantages of concentrated photovoltaic technology our Dish-CPV has a lower cost and higher performance than other CPV technologies.

The firm's product development and testing is conducted at its headquarters and operations facility at Southwest Solar Research Park in Phoenix, Arizona. Max Q Technology provides a number of solutions for the power electronics industry from its operations in Tempe, Arizona. 
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