ENGINEERINGNET.EU- Contrary to other types of photolvoltaic technology, CVP or Concentrating Photovoltaics is gaining momentum with an expected industry growth exceeding 400% for the current year (2012).
Following this trend, the Belgian Capricorn Cleantech Fund and the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau have invested €3.5 million in Concentrator Optics, a German manufacturer of Fresnel lens parquets.
The proceeds will be used for installing a 40 MW silicone-on-glass lens production line, for organizational development and for fuelling its continued commercial growth.
Concentrator Optics is one of the few global manufacturers of Fresnel lenses and is the only company to offer lenses in both PMMA as silicone-on-glass technology in large areas up to 1300x1250 mm, 1800 x 1500 to come.
Paul Decraemer, Head of the Cleantech Investment Practice at Capricorn Venture Partners, explains the investment rationale: “Concentrator Optics possesses outstanding know-how in design and production of Fresnel lenses and is positioned right at the bottleneck of the upcoming CPV industry.”
Concentrator Optics has generated unique technologies, in particular in the areas of materials and processes in the manufacturing of Fresnel lenses and in the tooling processes upstream of the lens fabrication.
Heart of a Fresnel lens production line is a vacuum press in which the raw material (PMMA or silicon) is heat treated to form lens parquets. Each parquet contains up to several hundred lenses. Depending on the final design, parquets may be laser cut to exactly fit the CPV modules.
Concentrating photovoltaics offers the highest efficiency ( > 30%) solar power generation. With this technology sunlight is concentrated by factor of 500 to 1,200 employing flat Fresnel lenses in order to generate electricity by using very small and highly efficient cells. This technology enjoys rapid growth due to the double efficiency compared with traditional photovoltaic systems in sunny climates with high direct irradiation levels.