BERNIN, FRANCE & AVON, USA: Soitec (Euronext) and Reflexite Energy Solutions Inc., a US-based global supplier of microstructured optical components for the solar power, lighting, instrumentation and display industries, have entered a joint venture called Reflexite Soitec Optical Technology LLC.
The new company will produce the silicone-on-glass (SOG) Fresnel lens plates used in Soitec's concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules and co-develop next-generation technologies that will continue to increase the efficiencies and lower the costs of SOG lens plates. The joint venture will be located within the new CPV manufacturing facility that Soitec is planning to open in San Diego, Calif.
Reflexite is supplying the technology and manufacturing expertise to produce injection-molded SOG lens plates at the "fab within a fab" to be built inside Soitec's San Diego facility. Soitec is providing lens design expertise to achieve maximum performance across a wide range of operating conditions in CPV modules, business opportunities in Southwest US, and the technical infrastructure of the factory.
Soitec and Reflexite are currently collaborating on the design of the area of the factory to be dedicated to the Joint Venture, which will employ approximately 100 people.
"This joint venture is unique in the CPV industry and represents a very important step in our commitment to the San Diego region and the US market. It is both a technological collaboration and an innovative economic solution in the highly competitive renewable-energy market," said André Jacques Auberton-Hervé, president, CEO and chairman of Soitec. "By working together under the same roof, we can ensure the continuous supply of superior-quality lens plates at the most competitive cost, and our future product development programs will be much more efficient by working in such close proximity."
"Reflexite has always strived to provide the best total solution for our customers. We have partnered with Soitec for many years to develop a durable, field-tested system that has been deployed successfully around the world, and we will bring all this experience to bear as we build up our common California base of operations together," said Michael Foley, CEO of Reflexite.
"We are very happy to see Soitec re-confirming their choice of Reflexite's SOG technology as a critical component of their high efficiency system, and we are sure that by co-locating our optics facility with their CPV module assembly facility we will have the best possible logistics and even closer collaboration in the future. We want to make sure we do our part to support Soitec's efforts to serve the US utility scale solar market."
One of the important elements in CPV systems is the lens plate, which incorporates a Soitec designed Fresnel lens that concentrates sunlight more than 500 times to achieve CPV technology's industry-leading efficiency. Soitec was the first CPV company to use SOG to produce its lens plate design which combines the excellent durability of a glass surface with high-volume precision microreplication, the key to low-cost production.
Reflexite's SOG lens plates are the most durable on the market and provide excellent energy-generating efficiency, with no mechanical or chemical degradation such as yellowing, cracking and delamination. The combination of Soitec's and Reflexite's technologies provides the most durable, reliable, efficient CPV systems, generating consistent electricity output over the lifetime of a solar power plant.
Reflexite has been a long-time supplier of SOG lens plates to Soitec, and its optics are key elements in the CPV systems that have already won Soitec more than 300 MW in solar power plant projects throughout the Southwest US.