ANU Researchers focus more light on their target cellsArticle from Australian Energy News Volume 11 March 1999.
Photovoltaic research undertaken at the ANU is already progressing to a commercial demonstration plant. A photovoltaic trough concentrator system, developed at ANU and trialed outside Canberra, is being scaled up to a 20kW demonstration plant. Once manufactured in volume the technology is expected to produce electricity for less than 20c/kWh.
A consortium of Western Power, Solahart Industries and the ANU, with the assistance of a $300,000 grant from the Federal Government, are building the 20kW plant at Murdoch University's Rockingham campus.
The demonstration plant is expected to be operational before the end of 1999. The sun tracking parabolic mirrored troughs concentrate the sunlight by a factor of 22 times onto solar cells suspended along the focal line of the mirror. The cells can have air or water cooled heat sinks built into them to keep them closer to the optimum operating temperaturc of 60°C. The cells on the system at Rockingham will have air-cooled heat sinks.
Solahart, manufacturer of the mirrors for the demonstration plant, and Australia's largest exporter of renewable energy technology with sales to 60 countries, also received a grant of $200,000 for the refinement of a new design in their solar hot water heaters. The new design will be better suited to European winter conditions because it sheds snow. Solahart's mirrors are also a key piece of a large solar thermal system being installed at Stanwell Power Station in Queensland.
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