Siemens has acquired a minority stake of about 16 per cent in the US solar PV company Semprius.
Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, Semprius has developed high concentrating photovoltaic (HCPV) modules. HCPV systems are a prime alternative to conventional photovoltaics and are especially suitable for regions with high direct irradiation like the Earth´s sunbelt.
Construction of its first production facility will begin in July, 2011. This investment gives Siemens early access to a highly promising technology for CO2-free power generation from solar energy. Siemens will help Semprius to scale up its innovative technology to market maturity. The parties have agreed not to disclose the details of the investment.
Martin Schulz, vice president of photovoltaics for Siemens, said: "We will act as a strategic investor to help Semprius scale up its innovative technology to market maturity. We believe the prospects are bright for high concentrating photovoltaic systems that enable significantly higher efficiencies than conventional PV modules, and at the same time, offer enormous potential to achieve competitive levelized costs of electricity."
The market for HCPV installations is still in its early stages but is expected to grow to a volume of up to 6 GW by 2020. HCPV systems are a prime alternative to conventional PV and are especially suitable for regions with high direct sunlight, for example along the Earth's sunbelt.
Semprius’ HCPV modules use high-performance lenses to focus the sun's light onto very small, highly efficient (>40 per cent NREL Certified) cells which convert the solar energy directly into electric current. Apart from its excellent conversion performance and very low cost, other features such as its high reliability, modular configuration and flexible plant design make this technology particularly appealing.
Modules built with Semprius’ patented production process have been on sun for several years and the first full test installation has been operational in Arizona since August 2010; additional installations are scheduled to follow before the end of this year.