Global Concentrator Photovoltaic Market: Overview
Concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology entered the market in the mid-2000s as a utility scale solar power generation option. While the technology has witnessed widespread acclaim and a significant number of installations across the globe in the past few years, it is still at a nascent stage of development. When compared to conventional flat-plate PV, which have been lauded for their easy application in domestic settings and rooftops of public and private buildings, the concentrator photovoltaic technology is a relatively small player in the overall solar power generation market.
Recently, the CPV industry has witnessed turbulent times with the number of new installations significantly declining in 2015 as compared to the past. Many major CPV companies have exited the market owing to increased pressures from declining costs of other PV technologies where many others are facing difficulties in raising the capital required to experiment and grow.
Nevertheless, CPV modules continue to improve in terms of efficiency, realizing conversion rates far beyond what is possible from traditional flat-panel PV modules. Continuous research efforts in the field have led to the development of modules that have efficiencies of up to 43%, the highest of all existing PV technologies. Researchers believe the technology still has room for improvement in the future, providing a way for achieving significant reduction in overall system costs.
This report on the global CPV market attempts at exploring the current state of the CPV market, technology, research, and innovations. The report also gives thorough insights into the market’s growth trajectory over the past few years, highlighting the shifting trends of consumers and technology developers in the global CPV market. Reliable qualitative and quantitative data pertaining to other crucial market elements is also included in the report.
Concentrator photovoltaics are solar power generation systems which, unlike conventional photovoltaic systems, use lenses and curved mirrors for focusing sunlight onto a small but highly efficient area of the PV cell. CPV systems often employ solar trackers to further increase its efficiency.
Concentrator photovoltaic systems are mostly of interest to power generation projects located in sun-rich locations that receive direct normal irradiance (DNI) values of more than 2000 kWh. These PV systems are not suitable for installation on rooftops, thus limiting their scope of application to an extent.
CPV systems are differentiated according to the system’s concentration factor. As such, there are two broad segments of CPV systems: High concentration PV (HCPV) and low concentration PV (LCPV). So far, a massive share in the overall CPV capacity installed across the globe is accounted by high concentration PV with dual axis tracking, with large-scale power plants being the leading consumer. A major reason for the increased installation of HCPV across large-scale power plants is the significant improvement in the efficiency of individual modules and substantial reduction in area-related costs of the overall power generation project. HCPV is also more preferable in hot climates, since the output of the PV cells used does not decline as rigorously as that of conventional crystalline silicon cells at high temperatures.
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Presently, China has the largest CPV power plant in operation making Asia Pacific one of the leading markets for the global CPV market. Over the report’s forecast period as well, Asia Pacific will continue to dominate the CPV space. The Middle East and Africa regional segment will also present many lucrative growth opportunities. The U.S. and Europe also account for a major share in the world’s presently installed CPV capacity.
Many CPV companies have come into bankruptcy, have closed operations, have moved away from CPV to standard PV, or have been acquired by larger PV companies. However, it should be noted that such type of consolidation is typical of most nascent-stage markets or industries. Many companies still continue working on CPV modules and the rate of innovation and technological development is highly motivating.
Some of the major players in the global CPV market are Ravano Green Powers, Sunpower Corporation, Zytech Solar, and Soitec.