Challenges in the Design of Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) Modules to Achieve Highest Efficiencies
Concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) is a special high efficiency system technology in the world of PV-technologies. The idea of CPV is to use optical light concentrators to increase the incident power on solar cells. The solar cell area is comparatively tiny, thus saving expensive semiconductor materials and allowing the use of more sophisticated and more costly multi-junction solar cells. The highest CPV module efficiency achieved is 38.9%. This CPV module uses four-junction III-V-based solar cells. Moreover, mini-modules have already achieved an efficiency of 43.4%. The interaction between optics, cells, and layout of the module and tracker determines the overall field performance. Today, some utility scale CPV plants are installed. The CPV technology allows for many technical solutions for system designs and for optimizing performance while maintaining the economics. This paper will review the achievements and discuss the challenges for the CPV module technology and its components. We discuss the different components and the most important effects regarding the module design. Furthermore, we present the module designs that have shown the highest efficiencies.