Solar Bankers plans 300 MW production of its new concentrated solar module

30. January 2013 | Top News, Applications & Installations, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Products, Research & Development | By:  Becky Beetz

U.S.-based Solar Bankers LLC and Germany’s Apollon GmbH & Co. KG have unveiled a new concentrated solar module using holographic foil, which they claim can be produced at costs lower than other manufacturers. They aim to establish 300 MW of production capacity in 2013.

Solar Bankers Apollon concentrated solar module prototype of holographic film

The concentrated solar technology employs a holographic optic, printed on the cover glass.

Currently, Solar Bankers and its affiliate Apollon have created a prototype of the new module, which has already been patented in the U.S.

As opposed to using mirrors or lenses, the concentrated technology employs a holographic optic, printed on the cover glass. The distance between the optic and silicon solar cell is said to only be a few millimeters, while the amount of silicon in the module is said to equal less than 3%.

"The printing process allows a [sic] economical duplication and simultaneously saves laser and development work, usually necessary when using holographic elements," explains Alfred Jost, president of Solar Bankers.

He adds, "In contrast to other concentrator modules the distance between optic and solar cell is only a few millimeters and filters only the desirable wavelengths of the light. The sunlight is then concentrated on the solar cells. Thanks to this specific wavelength selection, we avoid overheating issues usually generated by concentrated technologies which are today the source of significant efficiency losses."

Overall, a spokesperson tells pv magazine the target is to create a solar module with 28 to 38% efficiency. However, the efficiencies depend on the solar cells used.

"Since we used standard solar cells in the prototype, it has an efficiency of 16%," says the spokesperson. Regarding the higher efficiencies, they add, "On the one hand the 28% come from the use of a high efficient solar cell and on the other hand we treat desirable and undesirable wavelengths differently. Desirable wavelengths (visible light) will be bend [sic] and concentrated on the silicon solar cell. Undesirable wavelengths (for silicon solar cells) will be bend [sic] on another solar cell, which can convert the heat portion into electricity. With this combination we reach the efficiency of 28%."

Solar Bankers and Apollon have said they intend to establish production in either Germany or the U.S. this year, which will create 500 jobs. The 300 MW capacity is expected to be reached 18 to 24 months after ramp up, continues the spokesperson, while standard equipment already available on the market will be used. They add that Solar Bankers will invest around US$200 million in the facility.

They declined to go into specifics regarding production costs, simply stating, "Our production costs are below the production costs of the Chinese manufacturers."

Overall, markets along the sunbelt will be targeted, specifically, MENA and GCC. The spokesperson says that letters of intent have already been signed for these regions.

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