Entech Begins Certificate Testing of CPVs
FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 6, 2010 — Entech Solar Inc. announced that it will submit its latest concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) product called SolarVolt for independent certification testing this fall. This milestone is a key step in commercializing the company’s latest CPV product designed to produce electricity for large commercial, industrial, government and utility applications. According to the company, this step places the Entech on target to have a fully certified product for commercialization by mid-2011 to address the rapidly growing global photovoltaic market. This new Entech Solar product is protected by several issued and pending patents.
Over the past two years, the price per watt of one-sun photovoltaic modules has dropped dramatically, by approximately 50 percent. Consequently, Entech Solar accelerated the development of a low-cost, highly reliable CPV module design aimed at keeping the company’s technology cost-competitive for many years ahead. This advanced fifth generation module is firmly based on the field-proven heritage of Entech Solar’s previous generations of CPV modules and systems.
The Entech team has been involved in the research, development, field testing and commercialization of CPV technology for both ground and space applications for more than three decades. Entech Solar’s earlier development work through Jan. 2010, on an advanced ThermaVolt (CPVT) module that generates both electricity and thermal energy, and its 24 years of development work on space CPV systems for NASA and the US Department of Defense, were very beneficial to the development of the new CPV module for ground based applications.
The earlier generations of the company’s CPV technology have all relied on a robust and efficient primary optical concentrator, based on the symmetrical-refraction, arched shape, Fresnel lens design principle. For space applications, the company has used multi-junction solar cells with similar lens technology, including triple-junction cells in the SCARLET array that performed on NASA’s Deep Space 1 mission in 1998-2001. However, for terrestrial applications, the company has selected high-efficiency, low-cost silicon cells under the line-focus lenses to obtain the best combination of low-cost and high reliability. Conventional one-sun silicon cell processing methods are readily adaptable to produce efficient and low-cost cells for Entech’s terrestrial CPV modules operating at 20X geometric concentration ratio, which corresponds to approximately 95 percent savings in solar cell area and cost per watt of module power output.
The formal certification protocol under which Entech’s SolarVolt will be tested is defined in an official document, IEC 62108, issued by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the leading global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. Tests in accordance with this document simulate environmental conditions and influences on CPV modules to verify the performance and reliability during and after accelerated aging, hail impact, mechanical loading, hot and cold, wet and dry environmental conditions, as well as extended outdoor exposure.
“The company has been conducting extensive tests on its modules and components, outdoors as well as in its environment chambers and its 107-foot-long indoor solar simulation facility, believed to be the world’s largest solar simulator," said David Gelbaum, Entech Solar CEO. “This design, development and testing of our new advanced, low-cost CPV module has been carried out under the direction of our CTO, Mark O’Neill, and his highly experienced CPV team, relying on decades of CPV development, testing and field operations aimed at perfecting this product. We are all excited about this important milestone toward product commercialization.”
Entech Solar has partnered with TÜV Rheinland Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (PTL) LLC, in Tempe, AZ, to carry out the test and certification program over a 7 to 8 month expected time period. TÜV Rheinland PTL is an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation – A2LA. The IEC certificate that results from successfully completing the testing protocol is recognized globally. Meeting the requirements of the IEC 62108 standard, which was designed to be universal, takes into account different environments and applications around the world and is expected to enhance the company’s ability to sell its product world-wide.
For more information, visit: www.entechsolar.com
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