Solfocus, whose technology focuses 500x the normal strength of sunlight onto tiny bits of ultra-efficient (ultra-expensive) solar material has just released a new solar unit that it promises has "the highest energy density and energy yield of any photovoltaic system available today."
We're not quite sure if we can take them at their word on that, but the new module (the 1100S) does look pretty exciting. The module has an overall efficiency of 25% (much better than thin film, and comparable to traditional photovoltaic installations.) It's going straight into the field in Europe (SolFocus has a manufacturing plant in Spain.)
The module is designed for medium-scale utility projects. Unfortunately it's not so easy to get one of these things for personal use because they have to track the sun very precisely and so require a good deal of space and ugly solar-tracking hardware that your neighbors probably wouldn't let you have.
But utilities should love it. In warm climates, solar power happens to produce power exactly when it's needed...when air conditioners are running full blast. So the race to make solar power modules that produce cheap solar power either by concentrating solar energy on photovoltaics, using solar power to boil water or printing out sheets of cheap (though less efficient) solar panels is pretty intense.
I think SolFocus's technology has a good chance to grab some solid market share.
written by Deep Patel, November 17, 2008
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