EME 812
Utility Solar Power and Concentration

5.5. Ongoing activities and projects in CPV


5.5. Ongoing activities and projects in CPV

With the fast progress in research and development of concentrating photovoltaic technology, projects started to grow to implement CPV on the commercial scale. This section of the lesson introduces some examples of such implementations.

A summary of CPV projects now operating in the U.S. is given in Table 5.3 below. While CPV is less common in other world's locations, it would be worth to mention Golmud Plant in China (2012-2013), with two phases adding up to 137 MW capacity and Touwsrivier CPV Project in South Africa (2014), which is also one of the largest installations - 44.2 MW .    

Table 5.3. U.S. CPV operating facilities based on the information from the CPV Consortium
Project State DNI (kWh/m2 yr.) Land area (ha) Company operating Capacity (MW)
Alamosa Solar Project CO 2482 91 Arzon Solar 35.28
Arizona Western College AZ 2628 1 PPA Partners 1.25
Craftons Hill College CA 2263 3 Craftons Hill College 1.61
Eubank Landfill Solar Array NM 2449 - Suncore PV Technology 1.21
Newberry Solar 1 CA 2650 10 Soitec 1.68
Nichols Farms CA 2263 2 Nichols Farms 1.28
Victor Valley College CA 2592 2 Victor Valley College 1.26

The Alamosa Solar Plant is one of the biggest project commissioned in the US, and represents one of the cover stories of CPV implementation. Some more details on this case are presented below.

Alamosa Solar Project

The Alamosa solar plant is located on 225 acres of land in Colorado and supplies electricity to the grid of the Public Service Company of Colorado. At the time of commissioning, Alamosa was the largest CPV plant in the world, but was later surpassed by the newly built plants in China. The plant boasts a set of the advanced controls to ensure grid efficiency. The loan issued on the project guarantees low risk profile, while it is clear that the CPV development still needs to provide lower electricity prices in the future to be long-term competitive with regular silicon PV and fossil fuel power plants. The news releases about the Alamosa plant are linked below.

Reading Assignment

Web Article: Wesoff, E., Biggest CPV Plant in US Now on the Grid at Alamosa, GreentechSolar, May 15, 2012. Available from GreentechMedia.

Web Article: Wesoff, E., Korean Utility Kepco Buys 30 MW Alamosa CPV Plant for $34M, August 30, 2016. Available from GreentechMedia. 

Alamosa demonstrates the robustness and reliability of the Amonix CPV modules (Amonix 7700). The modules are grouped by seven into CPV systems (7 modules each). Every one of those systems has a separate inverter and controls.

Check out the design of the Amonix module in the following documents: