Ace Reporter Forbes Bagatelle Black writes:
There are two ways to harness solar energy via parabolic collectors.
1. Use them to heat a liquid, then harness the heat energy to power a
turbine. This has been the most common method to date. I like this
architecture because it results in a setup which, unlike photovoltaic
arrays, does not require rare and toxic materials. Nor does it require
expensive semiconductor materials.
2. Focus the concentrated solar energy on photovoltaic cells, as
SolFocus is doing.
SolFocus claims that they can use PV cells "approaching 40%" efficiency
using this method. This would be drastically higher efficiency than
seen in PV cells using non-focused sunlight. The primary benefit of
this setup versus option 1 is simplicity; there are NO moving parts in
a PV array unless it has a tracking function.
At Solarbuzz, a breakthrough in PV technology is reported:
BP Solar Develops New Silicon Growth Process
- BP Solar has developed a new silicon growth process that significantly increases cell efficiency over traditional multi-crystalline-based solar cells. The new technique, named Mono²™, enhances BP Solar’s technological expertise in the silicon growth and wafering arenas where silicon ingots and wafering technology are key to future growth...
- Solar cells made with these wafers, in combination with other BP Solar advances in cell process technology, will be able to produce in excess of five to eight percent more power than solar cells made with conventional processes. This translates into an equivalent module power increase and hence a substantial cost reduction at the installed system level...