SolFocus today announced that, in partnership with Dreen Europe, it has reached an agreement with Portuguese utility Águas de Portugal (ADP) for the installation of 8.5 megawatts of peak power (MWp) of Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) technology at the company's facilities. This project is part of ADP Group's plan to invest over 830 million Euros by 2014 in renewable energy projects, with a goal of covering 3 percent of the electrical needs and avoiding the importation of 4 million barrels of oil and the emission of 724 thousand tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
SolFocus partnered with developer Dreen Europe Re-energy on the project. A test array was installed in 2009 in one of Dreen's Europe facilities, to allow the utility to gain experience and understanding of the SolFocus CPV technology. Project deployment will begin in early 2010 for the first 2 MW, with the balance of the project deployed in phases over the next four years.
"As global delegates consider climate goals at the upcoming Copenhagen climate discussions, this agreement comes at a critical time for delivering low-cost solar energy to progressive markets like Portugal," said SolFocus CEO and president Mark Crowley. "The high energy generation capability of the iconic SolFocus CPV systems, which convert sunlight to electricity at over 25 percent efficiency, result in a good solution for ADP today. Now one of the largest CPV projects in Europe, this project puts Portugal on a steep trajectory of driving energy costs down at a very rapid rate."
"ADP is very committed to renewable energy for the country as is evidenced by our significant investment over the upcoming years in many renewable technologies," explained Antonio Branco board member for ADP. "We believe that investing in new and disruptive technologies such as SolFocus CPV is key to driving the global initiative for higher renewable energy usage."
The SolFocus CPV design employs a system of reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 650 times onto small, highly efficient triple junction solar cells. The SolFocus 1100S uses approximately 1/1,000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional silicon based photovoltaic panels. In addition, the cells used in SolFocus CPV systems have over twice the efficiency of traditional silicon cells. In high solar regions such as Portugal, such efficiency can accelerate the trajectory for solar energy to reach grid parity with fossil fuels.
SolFocus integrates the CPV panels with its advanced tracking system that continuously aligns the solar array with direct sunlight throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. The tracking capability of the SolFocus 1100S results in energy generation ideally matched to peak demand periods.