Mike Chino

SOLAR ENERGY AS CHEAP AS COAL!

by , 05/08/08

Sunrgi solar power, sunrgi xtreme concentrated photovoltaics, renewable energy costs, renewable energy technology, solar technology, energy efficiency, cost-effective solar, sunrgi1

Energy company Sunrgi recently announced an astounding new solar system that will break our grids free from the fossil fuel lockdown. Their Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics promise a low-cost, high-efficiency system with an incredible projected energy pricing of 5 cents per kilowatt. This breakthrough puts solar on par with the cost of coal, natural gas, and other non-renewable energy sources.


If solar energy is ever going to live up to it’s world-changing potential, it’s going to have to mesh with our existing energy infrastructure, competing with coal and natural gas on price point. While traditional photovoltaic arrays span great expanses and struggle to keep costs down, Sunrgi‘s system proposes a novel idea, making better use of fewer expensive materials.

The XCPV system is based on a principle blinding in its simplicity: use a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s energy into a single high efficiency solar cell. Each unit features a lens that magnifies the sun’s rays 2,000 times, focusing it onto a solar cell that converts more than 37% sunlight to energy. The result is a system that maximizes the potential output of each solar cell while minimizing cost and space required.

Sunrgi solar power, sunrgi xtreme concentrated photovoltaics, renewable energy costs, renewable energy technology, solar technology, energy efficiency, cost-effective solar, sunrgi2

The units are modular and thus easily deployable on or off-grid, and they can be easily upgraded to accommodate future advancements in solar cell technology. To deal with the tremendous temperature of focused sunlight (more than 3,000 ºF!), Sunrgi has developed a proprietary cooling system that keeps the panels safe and sound. Rounding out the tech is a sun-tracking system and a PV cell composition that doesn’t depend on the world’s depleted silicon reserves.

Craig Goodman, president of the National Energy marketers Association, has stated that “Solar power at 5 cents per kWh would be a world-changing breakthrough. It would make solar generation of electricity as affordable as generation from coal, natural gas, or other non-renewable sources, without require and subsidy.”

Sunrgi has built and tested working prototypes, and has announced plans for commercial production in 12-15 months.

+ Sunrgi

Via nextenergynews.com

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14 Comments

  1. visuga@rediffmail.com February 21, 2012 at 11:47 am

    copper aluminum alloy may be used weight consideration for all heat exchanger material

  2. spastry12 September 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    The article reads “Sunrgi has built and tested working prototypes, and has announced plans for commercial production in 12-15 months.”
    It’s been 16 months now since this article came out and I still can’t find this system anywhere. What’s the status? Does anyone know where they stand in terms of “commercial production?”

  3. Old Sol July 24, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I’m a Photovoltaic installer in the Eastern US, with lagging sales in this region due to the long payback time of monocrysaline and polycrystaline systems the Sunrgi systems would be a godsend to the industry. Very few customers are at all concerned about Global Warming or the destiny of their children. The only thing that will sell these systems is the economics. There is so much roof space here in the east that could be utilized but PV is just not catching on here. We need CPV now.

    I have not yet been able to contact Sunrgi as of yet, and wonder if anyone else has. We need some industry changing questions answered so we may plan for the future.

    Will this technology yield the 5 to 7 cents per kWh cost promised when installed in the Southeast?

    Can this system be sized per Watt and the output be calculated with one of the calculation sites such as PVWatts?

    Does this system require a tracking system or can the panels be mounted directly on the roof or a rack system?

    When will it be made available to residential installers?

  4. microsolar May 21, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Is it cheaper? the tracker is also expensive…and silicon still gets cheaper every day! for example i can offer you a 1 MW facility for just 3 Mio €!

  5. Jabberwocky May 19, 2008 at 12:02 am

    For GOD’s sake all of you stop babbling and just get on with it. I am an ordinary housewife who doesnt know an amp from a kilowatt and is too old to learn! But my pocket book is getting older and sparser as well. So for heaven’s sake, find us an alternative to OIL!

    Need I say that I have been driven to near panic by CNN thoughtfully putting on a documentary (aired today May 19) about the possibility of us not having access to OIL by 2010?

    HHHHHHHHHHELP!

    I dont care if SUNCUBE had it first..question is WHEN ARE WE goinf to get it??

  6. JERRYCALDWELL May 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Where’s the optimism? Might we consider that there may be substance between the hype? Even though PT Barnum lived by the credo that there’s a sucker born every minute he still put on The Greatest Show on Earth. The facts are the we have not even begun to tap the largest & most reliable energy source that has run this Earth engine for eons. If solar research enjoyed a fraction of the large subsidies abosorbed by nuclear & big oil over the last 50 years I suggest that we would now be enjoying huge dividends. The real problem with solar is that then end user can own it & thereby shed all dependence on utility providers who now monopolize all markets.

  7. Tom Buckner May 10, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Quote: ” DeadPanDan Says: May 8th, 2008 at 4:40 pm
    As Chas says, the heat is the problem here. It looks like they’ve mounted the solar cell on a big-ass heat sink. That might keep the temperature down enough for it to run, but I’m skeptical about how long that cell is going to last under that treatment. “Proprietary technology” doesn’t do it for me.
    On the other hand, replacing a few small solar cells every few years doesn’t sound so bad.” End Quote.

    How is the heat sink a problem, ehhhhhh? Run copper water tubes through those heat sinks and get your shower water. If this system is as good as they claim, an integrated photovoltaic/water solar system is even better.

  8. AJ May 10, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    We are currently working on a concentrator photovoltaic system that is in the prototype stage- and we envision taking the heat off by circulating a liquid through pipes that run thorugh the concentrator modules. Sungri has pretty much the same concept going here- the biggest advantage for this approach is that you can dramatically reduce cooling loads on the building if you can do it efficiently. All simulation data has shown that concentartor photovoltaics can offer way more efficiency than regular photovoltaics (and way way more than thin film PV). Sure it is a more complex system, but if it can be made more robust, then there are a lot of advantages to using these ideas.

  9. Chas May 9, 2008 at 10:09 am

    as Jonas sais, there is so much hype right now with the media going crazy with the green bandwagon. it really makes it hard to seperate fact from fiction.
    as Dhart sais this proposal is almost identical to the SunCube system. It appears that it is the cooling technology that the real difference here.

  10. DeadPanDan May 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    As Chas says, the heat is the problem here. It looks like they’ve mounted the solar cell on a big-ass heat sink. That might keep the temperature down enough for it to run, but I’m skeptical about how long that cell is going to last under that treatment. “Proprietary technology” doesn’t do it for me.

    On the other hand, replacing a few small solar cells every few years doesn’t sound so bad.

  11. Jonas May 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    This is not very new, nor very exciting. It rather contributes to shaping false expectations.

    In the solar energy industry one really has to stick to “seeing is believing”. Each day we have a new claim about some leap in efficiency – so tiring that scientists have publicly asked to stop this hype because it damages serious researchers:

    Leading experts in organic solar cells say the field is being damaged by questionable reports

    Oxford, UK, October 15, 2007 � In the latest issue of Elsevier�s Materials Today (http://www.materialstoday.com) the leading magazine for researchers in areas of advanced materials science, Dr. Gilles Dennler of Konarka Austria GmbH and twenty other experts warn that an unseemly race to report organic solar cells (OSCs) with world record efficiencies is leading to a significant number of published papers claiming unrealistic and scientifically questionable results and performances.

    �World record efficiencies are popping up almost every month, leading the OSC community into an endless and dangerous tendency to outbid the last report,� stated Dennler et al. in the article. �The current outbidding phenomenon does a severe disservice to the whole community, damaging its reputation. Solar cells and especially OSCs face enough difficulties in convincing people of their benefit over other energy sources.�

    OSCs are potentially cheap and easy to fabricate. This makes them very attractive in comparison to the familiar silicon solar cells, which struggle to compete in cost with other energy sources. The promise of OSCs means the field is burgeoning. However, OSCs still show relatively low efficiencies that will need to improve significantly before they become a success.

    Dennler and colleagues urge the field to press for independent verification of solar cell efficiencies. They call on researchers to question their results and constantly push the accuracy of their findings and ask journal editors to review claims of significant advances thoroughly.

    �In essence, this should be a good thing. Increasing the number of people focused on this tremendous renewable will hopefully help solve the planet�s energy needs,� adds Dennler. �Unfortunately, OSCs currently suffer from their own success.�

    The increasing number of researchers and choice of where to publish results means that everyone is finding it increasingly difficult to gain an impact within the community. The result is a pursuit of eye-catching claims of solar cell efficiencies.

    (This is on OSCs, but applies to ordinary concentrated solar as well).

    ==============

    Then add that solar delivers no baseload and that energy storage is not efficient or cost effective (yet), and you have a big problem.

  12. LivingSpaceBuilders.com May 8, 2008 at 10:46 am

    nano solar is another company currently making similar claims although they are working with flexible solar panels. It seems daily we hear of a new innovation in solar industry unfortunately none of it has hit the consumer market.

  13. Chas May 8, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Concentrated Solar is nothing new. the problem with it has always been the heat which burns out the cells. there are reflector systems which don’t have the heat problems but they’re not giving as much of a boost.
    It would be great if they really have overcome the heat hurdle to make it a truelly viable alternative to fossil fuels.

  14. dhart May 8, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Sungri is a knockoff of SunCube, which is a tacking concentrating solar PV that uses uses the same Spectralab cells (with public prototypes dating back to 2005). Admittedly the SunCube real-life images aren’t as pretty as the knockoff Sungri photoshopped imagery, but in any case SunCube should be recognized as the market innovator in tracking concentrating solar PV!

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