Integrated Micro-Optical Concentrator Photovoltaics

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Program:
MOSAIC
Award:
$3,343,250
Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Status:
ALUMNI
Project Term:
12/15/2015 - 04/30/2019

Technology Description:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with partner Arizona State University will develop a new concept for PV power generation that achieves the 30% conversion efficiency associated with traditional concentrated PV systems while maintaining the low cost, low profile, and lightweight of conventional FPV modules. MIT aims to combine three technologies to achieve their goals: a dispersive lens system, laterally arrayed multiple bandgap (LAMB) solar cells, and a low-cost power management system. The dispersive lens concentrates and separates light that passes through it, providing 400-fold concentration for direct sunlight and 3-fold concentration for diffuse sunlight. The dispersive lens is a thin layer consisting of inexpensive, lightweight materials that can be manufactured at low cost using plastic molding, an improvement over traditional methods. The lens focuses the direct light onto the array of LAMB solar cells, while also focusing the diffuse light onto common PV cells integrated beneath the LAMB array. The power management system combines power from multiple cells into a single output so that the power from a panel of LAMB arrays can be processed with grid-interface power electronics, enabling as much as 20% additional energy capture in applications where the roof is partially shaded.

Potential Impact:

If successful, innovations from MIT’s project may lower the cost of solar systems by allowing economical, high-volume manufacturing of micro-CPV arrays. Improved systems could encourage greater adoption of solar power in all three primary markets – residential, commercial, and utility.

Security:

Expanded use of clean, renewable solar power could reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Environment:

Solar power offers clean power generation with zero emissions. Technologies developed under MOSAIC may also enable solar installations with smaller physical footprints, reducing the environmental impacts of large solar arrays.

Economy:

Technologies developed under MOSAIC could offer a cost-effective option for clean, locally produced power across all market sectors.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. James Zahler
Project Contact:
Dr. Jurgen Michel
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
jmichel@mit.edu

Partners

Arizona State University

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Release Date:
12/08/2014