Next-generation technology high concentrating photovoltaics promises maximum efficiency
Siemens has acquired a minority stake of about 16 percent in the U.S. pioneering solar company Semprius. Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, Semprius has developed high concentrating photovoltaic (HCPV) modules. HCPV systems are a prime alternative to conventional photovoltaics and are especially suitable for regions with high direct irradiation like the Earth’s sunbelt. Construction of its first production facility will begin in July, 2011. This investment gives Siemens early access to a highly promising technology for CO2-free power generation from solar energy. Siemens will help Semprius to scale up its innovative technology to market maturity. The parties have agreed not to disclose the details of the investment.
“Participating in Semprius provides us access to trailblazing technology for clean power generation,” says Martin Schulz, Vice President of Photovoltaics in the Renewable Energy Division of Siemens Energy. “Siemens will act as a strategic investor to help Semprius scale up its innovative technology to market maturity. We believe the prospects are bright for high concentrating photovoltaic systems that enable significantly higher efficiencies than conventional PV modules, and at the same time, offer enormous potential to achieve competitive levelized costs of electricity.” The market for HCPV installations is still in its early stages but is expected to grow to a volume of up to six gigawatts by 2020. HCPV systems are a prime alternative to conventional photovoltaics and are especially suitable for regions with high direct sunlight, for example along the Earth’s sunbelt.
Semprius’ HCPV modules use high-performance lenses to focus the sun’s light onto very small, highly efficient (>40% NREL Certified) cells which convert the solar energy directly into electric current. Apart from its excellent conversion performance and very low cost, other features such as its high reliability, modular configuration and flexible plant design make this technology particularly appealing. Modules built with Semprius’ patented production process have been on sun for several years and the first full test installation has been operational in Arizona since August 2010; additional installations are scheduled to follow before the end of this year.
“We are very pleased to bring Siemens in as a strategic investor as we scale up our capabilities to production levels,” said Joe Carr, Semprius President and CEO. “Their far-reaching presence and strength in the renewable market offer us an immediate global footprint.”
Components for photovoltaic installations are part of Siemens’ Environmental Portfolio with which the company earned revenues of nearly EUR28 billion in fiscal year 2010. This makes Siemens the world’s largest provider of environmentally compatible technology. In the same period, our products and solutions enabled customers to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 270 million tons, an amount equal to the total annual CO2 emissions of Hong Kong, London, New York, Tokyo, Delhi and Singapore.
Siemens Energy Sector
The Siemens Energy Sector is the world’s leading supplier of a complete spectrum of products, services and solutions for the generation, transmission and distribution of power and for the extraction, conversion and transport of oil and gas. In fiscal 2010 (ended September 30), the Energy Sector had revenues of approximately EUR25.5 billion and received new orders totaling more than EUR30.1 billion and posted a profit of more than EUR3.3 billion. On September 30, 2010, the Energy Sector had a work force of more than 88,000. Further information is available at: http://www.siemens.com/energy
Semprius, Inc., is commercializing High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) modules for commercial, institutional and large-scale utility power generation in sunny climates. The company’s patented micro-transfer printing process along with mature semiconductor and printed circuit board technologies enable reduced cost and increase performance and reliability. For more information, please visit www.semprius.com