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Amonix and Solar Junction combine CPV expertise

25 Feb 2013

The two US companies, who lead the field in CPV module and cell efficiencies, say results of their collaboration will be revealed “soon”.

Two Californian firms working on different aspects of concentrated photovolatics (CPV) have signed a co-development agreement to further improve efficiencies and drive down the cost of the technology.

Solar Junction, which specializes in high-efficiency cells and last year produced a record-setting 44% triple-junction device, is hooking up with the CPV module and system manufacturer Amonix.

"This agreement solidifies a new partnership between two advanced technology leaders in CPV," said the Amonix CEO Pat McCullough, in a joint statement from the companies. "It's our goal, by combining our world record module technology with Solar Junction's world record solar cell, that we can increase efficiencies while driving CPV costs down. The results of this collaboration, and its lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), will be revealed soon."

Last year Amonix said that one of its modules had converted 33.5% of solar energy into electricity, and together with the Solar Junction mark for cells, the technology offers a path to push down the cost of CPV at a time when the depressed price of conventional crystalline silicon PV has made the environment extremely challenging for any alternative approaches.

Solar Junction's world-leading cells are based on an advanced design that utilizes so-called “dilute nitride” semiconductor materials, which help to capture a greater proportion of the solar spectrum than other designs.

Last year the company attracted $19.2 million in a series D round of financing that also saw the UK-headquartered epiwafer foundry IQE take a stake in the firm and agree a multi-year supply contract designed to help scale up production of the high-performance cells.

At the same time, the business environment has proved difficult for the nascent CPV industry, including Amonix. Though it is regarded as the world’s leading CPV company in terms of deployed systems, and completed a 30 MW utility project in Colorado last year, it was also forced to shut down system production at its new facility in Nevada when orders dried up.

Solar Junction had agreed a major supply deal with another US-based CPV module and system pioneer - SolFocus - last year, but SolFocus has itself encountered financial difficulties, reportedly restructuring itself for a sale after suffering "investor fatigue" last November.

Scitec Instruments LtdEaling UGart Photonics GmbHSchaefter und Kirchhoff GmbHLBP Optics LtdKentek CorporationSynopsys, Optical Solutions Group
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