During the Solar Power International show last week I had a chance to speak with Amonix Inc. The CPV manufacturer says it’s powering North America’s largest utility-scale CPV power plant, a 5-MW facility in Hatch, New Mexico.
The Hatch Solar Energy Center has 84 Amonix 60-kW system and generates enough electricity to supply approximately 1,300 homes for El Paso Electric customers per year. The company says their efficient multijunction solar cells and use advanced optics to convert
more sunlight into electricity than conventional solar photovoltaic panels. Dual-axis tracking systems maximize energy production throughout the day by allowing the CPV systems to follow the sun. “Hatch has the ideal conditions for solar energy development, and CPV is the right technology to realize its full potential to provide a steady, long-term energy supply without consuming excessive amounts of land and water,” says Amonix CEO Brian Robertson.
Amonix says their technology is best for high and dry locations. Originally developed for space-based applications, III-V multijunction cells represent a step-change improvement in performance and reliability over their silicon counterparts. Using three different photovoltaic materials in a single cell, they extract more energy from the range of wavelengths in sunlight. This enables them to produce a significant increase in voltage, while losing less energy to heat. As a result, Amonix says they provide the solar industry’s highest efficiencies. Under concentration, this can exceed 39% in volume production (over 41% in world-record demonstrations).