As innovations such as multi-junction cells with four and more junctions are developed for the concentrated photovoltaic industry, solar simulators will play a critical role in commercialization.
In a recent PV Insider industry analysis "The Current Status of CPV", Joe Schneider, Business Development Manager at Alpha-Omega Power Technologies, explained that "the days of taking modules to the parking lot for testing on apparently clear days are gone". Now, as CPV designers need to focus on the push for higher efficiencies and lower costs to get competitive, testing and simulation has become more sophisticated.
"The best scientists and engineers developing innovative new technologies are only as good as the tools they have to provide the data needed to make decisions on product design and process changes," explained Schneider.
"To instil the market's confidence in CPV products, it is necessary to provide the assurance that the manufacturer has the monitoring and controls in place to sustain a high volume production that will consistently meet their stringent requirements. 100% testing of CPV devices with solar simulators is essential to develop and produce the quality and reliability of products the industry demands."
Schneider emphasized that product testing is a critical aspect in the commercialization process.
"Market acceptance is determined by customers seeing a better ROI for CPV than other technologies." He noted. "ROI is more than the initial cost. It is heavily dependent on reputation developed for quality and longevity. The industry needs to continue to demonstrate its' persistence in meeting these high standards".
The full interview can be read in the "The Current Status of CPV 2013" for free. Download it here: www.pv-insider.com/cpv/content.php