The concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) market is an upcoming solar technology that promises to provide cost-effective power generation at high levels of efficiency.
CPV technology uses optics such as lenses or curved mirrors to concentrate a large amount of sunlight onto a small area of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells to generate electricity.
Compared to non-concentrated photovoltaics, CPV systems can save money on the cost of the solar cells, since a smaller area of photovoltaic material is required.
Because a smaller PV area is required, CPVs can use the more expensive high-efficiency tandem solar cells.
The CPV market is expected to grow dramatically over the next three years. Companies that have successfully operated CPV prototype systems in pilot locations are progressing towards multi-MW CPV projects.
With an increased understanding of CPV in terms of technology and investment, most of the players have plans for large-scale CPV projects. Companies such as SolFocus, Amonix and ArimaEco are planning to expand their production capacities in order to meet the upcoming demand.
In 2011, Spain dominated the global CPV market with around 18.55 MW of cumulative installed capacity. Spain accounts for 34.8% of the global CPV installed base. Most parts of the country experience high Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) concentrations, which attracts CPV installers to make investments in Spain.
The US follows Spain, with a cumulative installed capacity of around 16.37 MW; and it consequently holds 30.7% of the global CPV installed capacity.
Countries such as Italy, China, Australia, India and South Korea are proving to be important emerging markets in the CPV industry. Italy's CPV Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program and China's low-cost production and high Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) in its western region are attracting CPV investors in these countries.
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