19 October 2012 Contrasting glass and plastic material requirements for reflective and refractive CPV solar systems
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Abstract
Concentrator PhotoVoltaic (CPV) solar energy systems concentrate the sun 500 - 1,000 times or more, in order to take economic advantage of the most advanced and efficient solar cells. The two prevalent system architectures use either reflective glass optics - such as based on a Cassegrain telescope design - or a refractive plastic system - either an acrylic or silicone-on-glass Fresnel lens - for concentration. Both systems have their advantages in areas of performance and durability. Both system designs manufacture their optics by low-cost processes that are unavailable to the other material system. These contrasts are reviewed. The refractive system embodies a simpler optical concept, requiring a single Fresnel lens rather than two concentrating mirrors. However, the reflective, glass system uses the greater design sophistication to provide a greater acceptance angle, which yields tolerance benefits in both manufacture and installation; and also provides faster optics without suffering the spectral aberrations of the refractive systems. Both glass and plastics are low-cost commodity materials. The long-term durability of optical glass is more firmly established than for optical plastics. And light transmission through optical plastics is attenuated by absorbance in both the UV and IR regions, in regions where such light is harvested by efficient multi-junction solar cells.
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Steve Horne, Steve Horne, David Krevor, David Krevor, } "Contrasting glass and plastic material requirements for reflective and refractive CPV solar systems", Proc. SPIE 8489, Polymer Optics and Molded Glass Optics: Design, Fabrication, and Materials II, 84890N (19 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.930526; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.930526
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