CPV Brief 26 May – 10 June 2014

State pension fund backs Soitec South Africa project

Companies mentioned: Soitec, South African Department of Energy, Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), Solar Energy Institute of the Technical University of Madrid

CPV Brief 26 May – 10 June 2014

Pension fund backs Soitec South Africa project

Institutional investment from a state pension fund will help finance a 44MWp concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) power plant being built in South Africa by Soitec after a refinancing scheme for the project was approved by the South African Department of Energy, it has been reported.

The funding was arranged in part as a result of the Department of Energy in South Africa granting its final approval to a change in the financing structure of Soitec 44 MWp solar project developed in Touwsrivier, enabling the South African Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) to come on board as a long term investor in the project.

Soitec has joined forces with Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which represents Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), through an equity financing structure. GEPF will ultimately, post the regulated holding period, hold a 40% stake in the project whilst Soitec will only be retaining a minority shareholding in the long term.

Soitec will remain the only foreign stakeholder in the project through its contribution of solar equipment and minority shareholding.

Touwsrivier solar power plant has recently fulfilled milestones set for commissioning 22MWp (50% of the total capacity). This confirms that the power plant performs in accordance with contractual specifications and validates the power purchase agreements applied to the 44MWp solar plant.

PIC’s Dr Daniel Matjila, Chief investment Officer says “We are excited by yet another investment in this sector…This investment will contribute to the country’s much needed alternative energy needs thus contributing towards easing the current electricity pressures the country is experiencing as well ensure good returns for our client, the GEPF."

Alloy results in solar cell efficiency boost for CPV

Substituting the GaAs-based cathode with a GaInP alloy in the tunnel-junction results in a 1.3 percent increase in solar cell efficiency in the triple junction cell and allows operation at 15,000 suns, it has been reported.

According to scientists from the Solar Energy Institute of the Technical University of Madrid a new development has been made for a high bandgap tunnel junction (TJ) for multi-junction cells setting a new benchmark for current handling capability.

According to a report by Compound Semiconductor, the team of scientists believes that these tunnel junctions, which also deliver increased transparency, will help achieve high efficiency solar cells operating at ultra-high concentrations.

Grown by MOCVD, the p++-AlGaAs/n++-GaInP tunnel junction (TJ) produced by the researchers displays an outstanding electrical performance, said the report.

The TJ is intended to interconnect the top (GaInP) and middle (GaInAs) subcells of concentrator triple junction solar cells. In as-grown tunnel diodes, an average peak tunnelling current density (Jp) of 996 A/cm2 and a specific resistance of 7 x 10-5 Ω cm2 were obtained, whilst record-performing devices exhibited Jp above 1050 A/cm2, said the news report.