CPV – what does that mean, how does it work?
CPV – Concentrated Photovoltaic is not the latest invention in solar energy world, but it is surely one of the most dynamic growing branches of this market. The idea behind this kind of system is quite simple: solar cells are surrounded by glass or lenses that concentrate solar rays directly onto them (sun movement tracking system helps them in this task). According to forecasts ("Concentrated PV (CPV) Report - 2013" from IHS) we can expect that capacity of installed CPV systems will rise from 160 megawatts in 2013 up to 1362 megawatts in 2020 – it means 750 percent growth! Of course it is only forecast, but are there any pragmatic reasons, which advocate these statistics? We guess that we can find some logical comparison concerning PV systems history: at the beginning there was only a couple of companies, selling PV systems in high prices. With the passing of time, new brands appeared, which joined the PV market; even older companies, which used to sell only standard electric devices, started to produce their own PV installations. According to that – competition on the market was getting higher, the number of PV assortment has started to grow, manufacturing progress was faster and easier, technology inventions was better with every year (higher efficiency etc) and prices were going lower. We can notice similar situation in case of CPV even nowadays – since 2012 to 2013 prices of HCPV (high-concentration PV) installations have dropped down from 3,54$ to 2,62$ per watt – by 25,8 percent in year! IHS forecasts predict that by the end of 2017 their cost will be about 1,59$.
Its predictable that in coming years CPV installations will be cheaper and more efficient than nowadays. Will they really be considered as ones of important parts of PV market? Will IHS forecasts be right? We assume that at this moment no one can surely answer to this questions, but we all should remember wise aphorism: “History likes to repeat” - will it be right as well in this case? We will find out on our own in upcoming years.