Concentrating the sun’s ray onto solar photovoltaic (PV) modules
requires walking the fine line between optimizing power output and not
literally melting your very expensive super-high-efficiency solar cells.
A team led by IBM Research
seems to have found a way to push back the line. They have created a
High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that is capable
of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns onto hundreds of triple
junction photovoltaic chips measuring a single square centimeter each
(they even claim to be able to keep temperatures safe up to 5,000x). The
trick is that each solar PV cell is cooled using technology developed
for supercomputers; microchannels only a few tens of micrometers in
width pipe liquid coolant in and extract heat “10 times more effective
than with passive air cooling.”

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