‘Power Cube’ power tower receiver

Slideshow

  • Mark Keevers calibrating refraction for PowerCube prototype

  • Mark Keevers setting up outdoor testing on PowerCube prototype

  • Mark Keevers reviewing results for PowerCube prototype

  • ARENA-supported PowerCube prototype collecting sunlight

This project is aims to reduce the cost of utility scale photovoltaics by developing a technology that splits sunlight into specific wavelength bands and converts each into electricity using commercially available solar cells.

Lead organisation:
University of NSW
Project partners:
Spectrolab Inc , RayGen Resources , National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Location:
Sydney, NSW
Technology:
Solar energy
ARENA programme:
Former Australian Solar Institute initiatives and programmes
Start date:
July 2012

Need

Reducing the cost of solar electricity will increase its use globally.

Project innovation

This project aims to reduce the cost of utility scale photovoltaics by developing a technology that splits sunlight into specific wavelength bands (called spectrum splitting) and converts each separate band into electricity using commercially available triple-junction and silicon (Si) solar cells, thereby increasing the overall amount of electricity generated.

It builds on a unique Australian technology that was developed for the world’s first operational concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) power tower.

The triple-junction solar cells used in the power tower receiver are fabricated on a Germanium (Ge) substrate to ensure good crystal quality, but the downside is that some of the sunlight absorbed in the Ge is wasted as heat.

This project uses an innovative ‘power cube’ receiver to divert some of this lost energy to additional solar cells made from Si, which are relatively inexpensive to produce and potentially increase the overall amount of energy converted from the sunlight by 10 per cent.

Benefit

Utility scale photovoltaics would be a step closer to commercial viability using the combination of two innovative Australian technologies: a spectrum splitting or ‘Power Cube’ receiver applied to a CPV power tower system.

More information

Media release – 8 Dec 2014: ARENA funding leads to record solar PV efficiency

Contact information

Professor Martin Green, Project Leader, ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence, School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
Phone:
+61 2 9385 4018
Email:
m.green@unsw.edu.au