FRANCE: Soitec (Euronext), a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, has installed a concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) demonstration plant in the isolated rural village of Usib near Rehoboth in central Namibia.
The new 25- kilowatt installation has been connected to the grid of the national power utility, NamPower, and provides electricity for users including a rural school. Soitec and NamPower have entered into a cooperative agreement in which Soitec has constructed and operates the CPV plant and will transfer the knowledge gained as well as operations and maintenance duties to NamPower.
Usib is an isolated rural community with a school providing education and accommodations to more than 100 children from the surrounding area. Production from a small vegetable garden supplements the diet of the school's boarders.
Additionally Soitec's subcontractor Alensy has installed a solar water pump at the community garden to ensure there is sufficient water to irrigate up to one acre of crops. Funds from the sale of electricity generated by the power plant and injected into the grid will be credited to the school's electricity bill. The power plant will be in operation for at least 20 years.
CPV is the most efficient technology in the photovoltaic industry, achieving current energy-generating efficiencies of 30 percent - approximately twice that of conventional photovoltaic technologies. Soitec's CPV modules use a durable glass-glass design and Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells.
By using dual-axis tracking, Soitec's systems provide high, constant power output throughout daylight hours. In addition, the company's systems are resistant to energy losses in high temperatures and achieve passive cooling without water consumption, offering competitive advantages in countries with high direct normal irradiance (DNI) such as Namibia. Soitec has installed its CPV technology in 18 countries to date.