We present work at the Steward Observatory Solar Lab on a high concentration photovoltaic system in which sunlight focused by a single large paraboloidal mirror powers many small triple-junction cells. The optical system is of the XRX-Köhler type, comprising the primary reflector (X) and a ball lens (R) at the focus that reimages the primary reflector onto an array of small reflectors (X) that apportion the light to the cells. We present a design methodology that provides generous tolerance to mispointing, uniform illumination across individual cells, minimal optical loss and even distribution between cells, for efficient series connection. An operational prototype has been constructed with a 3.3m × 3.3m square primary reflector of 2m focal length powering 36 actively cooled triplejunction cells at 1200x concentration (geometric). The measured end-to-end system conversion efficiency is 28%, including the parasitic loss of the active cooling system. Efficiency ∼32% is projected for the next system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics