Sector(s): Energy & Renewables, Electronics, Sensors & Photonics, Engineering & Manufacturing, Materials
Glasgow Caledonian University has developed a novel optical concentrator capable of providing gain on two planes. Such a concentrator can be used in a non-tracking wall mounted BIPV system.
The concentrator provides higher optical gains than alternative optical elements, thereby reducing the amount of PV cell (and silicon) required. Additionally, carefully selected FOVs (Field-of-Views) contribute to capture solar radiation throughout the day and all year round, removing the requirement for electromechanical tracking.
Further, the optical structure has been designed to take into account the fact that the sun's path deviation from summer to winter is far less than the deviation from sunrise to sunset and the entrance aperture and concentrator profile have been optimsed to redirect sunlight to the exit aperture and to the PV material.
A concentrator PV-array based on this structure is also capable of providing ambient light to building interiors.
The reduction of PV material can be particularly important in applications using Gallium Arsenide PV cells.
The optical element can be used not only for solar energy systems (solar PV and solar thermal), it also could be used to collect visible and infrared radiation in applications such as sensing and optical wireless communications.
The technology is protected by a granted GB patent and international patent application (Priority date December 2011), now in Regional/National phase.
Small prototypes have been built and tested with extremely positive results. Larger prototype array units have now been completed and initial results have confirmed these impressive results with high levels of optical gain generated.