SolFocus and Samaras expand solar CPV project in Greece from 1.6MW to 10MW

SolFocus has announced an agreement which dramatically expands its installation of solar Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) technology in the country of Greece. Originally announced in November 2008 as a 1.6MWp1 deployment between SolFocus and Samaras Group, this new agreement increases the size of the project to 10MWp in recognition of the distinct financial and energy generation advantages for CPV in the geographic region.

This expanded agreement involves a joint effort between SolFocus, Samaras Group, and its engineering company Concept. Over the past four months, the partners have investigated several sites and begun engineering plans for the installation.

“The swift expansion of this project resulted from the favorable political, economic, and energy generation environment that exists in Greece for commercial solar technologies,” said Mark Crowley, chief executive officer and president of SolFocus. “2009 is truly the beginning of CPV commercialization and Greece is a front-runner. We expect that CPV will follow a similar growth path in other high-sun regions over the next several years.”

Spanning multiple sites in Greece, the deployment will have the capacity to produce 10MWp of power using the SolFocus 1100S system. The SF-1100S, launched in November 2008, offers high conversion efficiencies that are typically 30-50 percent greater than traditional photovoltaic (PV) panels and provides the highest energy generation potential per area of land.

“The Samaras Group is confident that we can accomplish such a significant project expansion with the continued partnership of SolFocus,” said Dimitrios Samaras, president of Samaras Group. “SolFocus systems are easy to scale, reliable in the field, and amazingly efficient. We look forward to proving the strength of CPV through the results of this installation.”

Deploying solar solutions such as the SolFocus systems is important to the environment. The first year of production alone will prevent the release of 17,500 tons of CO2 emissions into the environment. The installation will begin in the summer of 2009 with the first delivery of power expected in the fall.

The SolFocus CPV design employs a system of reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells. The SolFocus 1100S uses approximately 1/1,000th of the active, expensive solar cell material used by traditional PV panels. In addition, the cells used in SolFocus CPV systems have over twice the efficiency of traditional silicon cells. In a solar-rich country like Greece, such efficiency can accelerate the trajectory for solar energy to reach cost parity with fossil fuels.

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