Linear Concentrator PV system Demonstration
Source: UFTO
Date: 2/19/97    Record No.: 10433
Contact: Jim Sahagian, President
PVI, Sunnyvale CA
408-746-3062, fax 408-746-3890, email:

Linear Concentrator PV system Demonstration
Photovoltaics International (PVI) is introducing its first commercial product. It is a 1400 W DC, 12 module concentrating PV panel. They are seeking participants in a demonstration program with an invitation to purchase one of these panels at a reduced price of $4,000.

Their technical approach goes neatly in between flat panel and high concentration, and offers a real prospect for low priced production of reliable systems in the immediate future. The heart of the system is a patented extruded acrylic cylindrical lens that concentrates the sunlight by a factor of about 10 - 15 onto ordinary one-sun Si photocells (with minor modification). The system has none of the special and stringent requirements of high-concentration approaches. For example, it operates with simple self-contained one-axis tracking that is reliable and needn't be nearly as accurate (within 5-10 instead of >> 1).

A panel consists of 12 modules linked together to track the sun in unison, and mounted on a lightweight frame that can be readily installed on roofs (without any difficult structural modifications to the building).

Considerable experience has been gained over the last two years of pilot installations at SMUD, Arizona Public Service, and Clean Air Now (S. Calif.) that has been incorporated into the new product design. It is expected that within one to two years, PVI will be able to offer systems at costs significantly lower than flat panel systems now available.