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Confirms Readiness for Large-Scale Deployment of Solar Farms in the MENA Region
Soitec (Euronext Paris), the world's leading supplier of advanced solutions for the electronics and energy industries, reports excellent results for the company's concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system in Jordan, which is connected to the nation's electrical grid. The system, which was jointly installed with Azur Space Solar Power, ran continuously through the extremely hot summer and fall months, demonstrating full reliability and excellent results under the most demanding conditions. Soitec's Concentrix CPV systems are also running at other locations in the MENA (Middle East and North African) region. The company's technology, which is designed for use by large-scale solar power plants in hot and arid regions, provides the highest efficiency of all solar technologies available. The systems are modular, flexible and have ultra-low water consumption. Their proven robustness and excellent results confirm their readiness for competitive electricity production and large-scale deployment in the MENA region.
After more than six months of operation, the system in Jordan provides an example confirming the excellent results of CPV technology in conditions of extreme heat, sunshine and dust:
- Average solar-to-grid efficiency reached 21%, with daily peak efficiencies regularly reaching 25% and beyond (2 to 3 times higher than standard photovoltaic installations, even in ambient temperatures of up to 45°C).
- The system has been running on a continuous basis, with 100% uptime, demonstrating its reliability in a harsh environment.
- The measurement data confirm that the annual specific electricity yield will be as high as 2500 kWh/kW of installed nominal AC power. This extraordinary high value is a result of the site's high level of direct solar irradiation in combination with the great performance of the system.
Beyond the Jordanian system, Soitec has five CPV systems installed in Egypt (in the Wadi El Natrun desert valley, near Cairo), as well as a system connected to the grid in Oman (at the Ar Rusayl industrial park near Muscat). The company is also involved in Abu Dhabi's Masdar initiative to demonstrate the value of CPV technology for the region.
"Very high performance even under very high temperatures, and the fact that our systems require no water at all for cooling: these are the two advantages to highlight in the MENA region," says Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, Senior VP Customer Group of the Solar Energy Business Unit of Soitec. "We have proven with real systems that our technology is best suited for the region, and we are ready for high-volume deployment."
Especially at locations with extremely hot ambient temperatures, CPV systems perform better than conventional solar systems and therefore guarantee a high and constant power production throughout the day. Due to the very-low-temperature coefficient of their III-V multifunction concentrator solar cells, the performance of CPV systems is much less affected by temperature than any other PV technology, particularly those that are silicon-based. In fact, in extreme heat, silicon-based PV systems suffer from a three times greater loss in efficiency when compared to systems such as Concentrix CPV technology, which is based on III-V semiconductor materials. For this reason the technology shows best performance even during summer when electricity demand is particularly high due to air conditioning requirement - and all this, without any requirement of cooling water. This makes CPV technology perfectly suited for power plant installations in arid areas like in the MENA region.
Due to the technology's high scalability, CPV power plants can be commissioned in phases, thereby shortening the time to operation. In fact, the first units installed and connected to the grid can immediately start to produce energy, even while the installation of subsequent systems is in progress. Once operational, CPV's peak production hours align with the region's peak electricity demands from air conditioning.
Soitec will exhibit its Concentrix CPV technology at the World Future Energy Summit, in the French Pavilion, booth #8403 on January 17-20 in Abu Dhabi.
Soitec is the world's leading innovator and provider of the engineered substrate solutions that serve as the foundation for today's most advanced microelectronic products. The group leverages its proprietary Smart Cut™ technology to engineer new substrate solutions, such as silicon-on-insulator (SOI) semiconductor wafers, which became the first high-volume application for this proprietary technology. Since then, SOI has emerged as the material platform of the future, enabling the production of higher performing, faster chips that consume less power.
Today, Soitec produces more than 80 percent of the world's SOI wafers. Headquartered in Bernin, France, with two high-volume fabs on-site, Soitec has offices throughout the United States, Japan and Taiwan, and a new production site in Singapore.
Three other divisions – Picogiga International, Tracit Technologies and Concentrix Solar – complete the Soitec Group. Picogiga delivers advanced substrates solutions, including III-V epi wafers and gallium nitride (GaN) wafers, to the compound materials market for manufacturing high-frequency electronics and other optoelectronic devices. Tracit provides thin-film layer transfer technologies used to manufacture advanced substrates for power ICs and microsystems as well as generic circuit transfer technology, Smart Stacking™, for applications such as image sensors and 3D integration. In December 2009, Soitec acquired 80 percent of Concentrix Solar, the leading provider of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar systems for the industrial production of energy. With this acquisition, Soitec has entered the fast-growing solar market. Shares of the Soitec Group are listed on Euronext Paris. For more information, visit: www.soitec.com.
Soitec, Smart Cut, Smart Stacking and UNIBOND are trademarks of S.O.I.TEC Silicon On Insulator Technologies.
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