Case Studies

About Project


Low-Cost Concentrating Photovoltaic System

  • DTI/TSB Collaborative R&D initiative contributed: £384,452
  • Project partners : Whitfield Solar Ltd, SCT, The University of Ulster and the University of Warwick


Project Objectives

  • Develop a concentrating photovoltaic collector that significantly reduces the cost of generating electricity directly from the sunlight and develops a greater understanding of system energy capture and thermal behaviour.
  • Investigate a range of laser grooved buried-contact (LGBC) solar cell designs in order to optimise cell efficiency under 50-sun and 100-sun levels of concentration. This investigation covered changes to grid-finger layout, processing options, back surface field enhancement, and choices of silicon wafer type.
  • Take an existing FORTRAN finite-element model of solar collector thermal behaviour and expand it to evaluate cell and component temperatures under realistic operating conditions of the collector designed by Whitfield Solar Ltd.
  • Develop a model to calculate the annual energy captured by the collector at specific geographical sites as a function of collector field-ofview and row spacing. The work at Ulster transferred during the course of the project to the University of Warwick due to the move of Professor Philip Eames, the academic concerned.


Solar Capture Technologies’ achievements

  • Over 4000 experimental cells were produced by Solar Capture Technologies over the course of this project
    • Best cell efficiency increased over the project and reached 18.9% and 18.4%, at 50 and 100-suns respectively, for cells made on Czochralski wafers; and 19.2% and 18.7%, respectively, when using more expensive Float-Zone wafers.
    • Annual energy capture model was created and verified and used to carry out predictions for the energy capture of the proposed commercial collector at two likely installation sites in Spain, Madrid and Seville.
    • One prototype saw extensive testing and modification in the UK. Over the project period some three ‘collector-years’ of detailed performance measurements were gathered in total.
    • New approaches to the production and control of the back-surface field and the use of different wafer types for this class of cell were investigated.
    • Detailed modelling of specific geometries of collector type to correspond to designs generated by Whitfield Solar Ltd

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Project Info

  • Link/URL:
    April 2005 – March 2008
  • Application: