Down the road from the San Luis Solar plant run by Iberdrola Renewables is another 30-megawatt solar plant under construction. This facility, though, will use different photovoltaic technology. Instead of using high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels from SunPower, the Cogentrix plant here will use concentrating photovoltaic collectors. With this technology, mirrors, and lenses concentrate light onto triple-junction solar cells that produce much more power than traditional silicon cells. Those high-end cells are more expensive, so the concentrator shines more light onto them to maximize power. Utility Xcel Energy is also purchasing the power from this plant and Department of Energy provided a $90.6 million loan guarantee for the project. As you can see, the two-axis, sun-tracking system is more complicated and the panels themselves are much larger.
November 28, 2011 4:00 AM PST
Photo by: Martin LaMonica/CNET
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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