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.
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.