PYRON, Inc. – The PV-Cell

The actual PV cell measures only 1.5 by 1.5 cm. It consists of several layers with different absorption ranges to cover all wavelengths of light including the invisible infrared. It’s efficiency increases with concentration and reaches the maximum of up to 36% at about 400 suns.

The conduit contains all elements necessary for the conversion of the solar energy conentrated by the lens. The conduit comprises the photovoltaic cell, positioned between the homogenizer and the heatsink, which is also electrically insulated from ground to enable series hookups within the trough. The cap presses the unit against the bottom of the conduit’s interior.

The thermally conductive heatsink quickly spreads out the cell’s excess heat and conducts it to the water with low temperature differential. Even at optimum cell efficiency, two thirds of the intense concentrated radiation is converted into heat, at such a high rate that only vigorous cooling can prevent the elevated temperatures that cause carrier recombination in conventional air-cooled concentrators. Full cell-lifetime (decades) can be assured by keeping the cell’s operating temperature near that of ambient. Such ‘low delta-T’ operation is made possible by PYRON‘s efficient geometry for heat conduction out of the cell and into the water.

High solar flux (9700 suns) at the focal spot, 24 times higher than the cell-average.

The optical homogenizer spreads out the spectrally blurred focal spot over the cell for uniformity of flux and spectrum. A wider entrance can compensate for tracking errors. It also tilts downward to bring the cell closer to the water. Minimum, median, and maximum wavelengths are shown.

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