Amonix

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Amonix
Type Private
Industry Solar power
Electric utility
Sustainable energy
Founded 1989
Founder(s) Vahan Garboushian
Headquarters

33°45′33″N 118°4′57″W / 33.75917°N 118.08250°W / 33.75917; -118.08250

Seal Beach, California, USA
Products Concentrated Photovoltaic Solar Power Systems
Employees 30 (2014)
Website amonix.com

Amonix, Inc. is a solar power system developer based in Seal Beach, California. The company manufactures concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) products designed for installation in sunny and dry climates. CPV products convert sunlight into electrical energy in the same way that conventional solar photovoltaic technology does, except that they use optics to focus the solar radiation before the light is absorbed by solar cells. According to a comparative study of energy production of solar technologies, CPV systems require no water for energy production and produce more energy per megawatt (MW) installed than traditional PV systems.[1] Amonix has nearly 70 Megawatts(DC) of CPV solar power systems deployed globally, including Southwestern U.S. [2][3] and Spain. In May 2012, the Alamosa Solar Generating project, owned and operated by Cogentrix Energy, began commercial operation. This is the largest CPV power plant in the world is expected to produce enough clean renewable energy per year to power more than 6,500 homes and will avoid the emissions of over 43,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The Alamosa Solar Generating Project is supported by a power purchase agreement (PPA), which is a long-term agreement to sell the power it will generate. Under the project’s PPA, the Public Service Company of Colorado will buy the power generated by the solar facility for the next 20 years.[4] In July 2012, Amonix set the world record for photovoltaic module efficiency at 33.5% (full regression analysis) under nominal operating conditions, verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.[5][6] In April 2013, Amonix broke the record set in July 2012, demonstrating photovoltaic module efficiency at 34.9% (full regression analysis) under normal concentrator standard operating conditions (CSOC), also verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.[7] In August 2013, Amonix announced it had achieved a 35.9% photovoltaic module efficiency rating under concentrator standard test conditions (CSTC) as calculated by NREL.[8]

History[edit]

Amonix was founded in 1989 by CPV solar technology developer, Vahan Garboushian,[9] its current chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors. The company began research and development of large-scale CPV solar power systems for the electric utility industry in 1990. Since then Amonix has developed seven generations of progressively advancing CPV solar power systems.[10]

In 1994, the company won R&D Magazine’s R&D 100 award for silicon solar cell performance with record conversion efficiency.[11] According to the Department of Energy, Amonix developed the world’s most efficient silicon solar cell in 2005, achieving a sunlight-to electricity conversion efficiency of 27.6 percent, which still holds the world record for efficiency of an augmented multi-sun silicon cell.[11]

In 2007, the company began incorporating multijunction solar cell technology originally developed for the space industry into its modular design.[12] The system contains several photovoltaic solar cells which are combined to boost power production even further. Once connected the cells become modules that can be combined into arrays to provide increasing levels of solar power.[13] Amonix has achieved a world record 34.9% outdoor efficiency and 36.2% peak efficiency in its modules.[14]

Amonix opened its 78,000-square-foot (7,200 m2) headquarters in Seal Beach, Cal., in 2008.[15] In December 2009 the company acquired Sunworks Solar LLC, a solar manufacturing plant developer. Sunworks' co-founder and chief executive officer, Brian Robertson, became Amonix CEO as part of the restructuring.[16]

Funding[edit]

Amonix received $129.4 million in a Series B financing round, which closed in April 2010.[17] Amonix previously raised $25 million in Series A funding,[18] and also received $15.6 million in cost-share grant funding through the DOE's Solar America Initiative to improve the reliability and reduce the cost of solar electricity to meet national goals (measured as the levelized cost of electricity) of 6 cents per kilowatt hour by 2015.[11]

In addition to the DOE, Amonix investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, MissionPoint Capital Partners, Angeleno Group, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, Vendanta Capital, New Silk Route, The Westly Group, Adams Street Partners, and Goldman Sachs.

In 2011, Amonix won a $4.5 million United States Department of Energy SunShot partnership award under Extreme Balance of System Hardware Reduction to develop a new dual axis tracking system specifically for CPV systems.[19]

Technology[edit]

Amonix employs concentrated photovoltaic technology systems which require no water in power production[20] and produce more energy per acre than any other solar technology.[21] CPV technology uses optics to focus large amounts of sunlight onto small photovoltaic surfaces to generate electricity. CPV systems are the most efficient solar energy systems and produce the most energy in dry, sunny climates, where the solar radiation averages 6 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day (6 kW-hr/m2/day) or more. According to the research firm, Global Data, the average cell, module and system efficiencies for CPV systems are expected to reach 50.37 percent, 39.48 percent and 34.03 percent, respectively.[22]

Originally used for space-based applications,[23] the CPV technology was adapted to utility-scale application by Amonix to take advantage of the improved energy efficiencies it offers over the previous silicon-based technology.[24]

The multijunction solar cells used in Amonix CPV systems work by layering semiconductor materials that have different band gaps.[25] Sunlight enters the layer that has the largest band gap and each photon continues to penetrate the solar cell until it reaches the layer that has a smaller band gap than its energy. In this way, multijunction solar cells are more efficient than single layer solar cells because less of the photon’s energy is lost to heat when it exceeds the band gap of the absorbing semiconductor material.[25]

Used in conjunction with concentrator optics such as Fresnel lenses, multijunction solar cells are capable of converting sunlight into electricity exceeding 40 percent efficiency.[10] This efficiency rises as the level of concentration increases, but decreases as temperature increases.[26] The Amonix CPV system is designed to keep the cell temperature as low as possible using passive air-cooling.

Amonix CPV systems use refractive Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight 500 times onto multijunction solar cells.[27] The Amonix CPV system is composed of seven proprietary MegaModules™, each with 36 acrylic lenses and multijunction solar cell collector plates. A dual-axis mounting structure tracks the sun throughout the day as the lenses collect sunlight. MegaModules™ are mounted to a patented hydraulic drive tracking structure. The Amonix tracking system follows the sun from dawn to dusk to maintain the sun’s focus on the solar cell. This ensures that the system generates close to peak power output throughout the day and produces more energy to better match power demand from utilities.[27]

In February 2013, Amonix signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with solar cell designer and manufacturer Solar Junction for the purpose of continuing to increase CPV performance and drive down cost by combining efforts of the companies.[28]

In April 2013, Amonix broke its own world record for photovoltaic module efficiency at 34.9% (full regression analysis) under nominal operating conditions, verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).[5][6] In discussing the result and plans for the future, Amonix Founder and then CTO Vahan Garboushian recently stated that, "plenty of headroom remains for Amonix to confidently achieve a 40 percent module efficiency in the foreseeable future.".[29]

In August 2013, Amonix announced that it had achieved a rating of 35.9% (full regression analysis) under standard concentrator test conditions (CSTC), calculated by NREL. In the press release Amonix comments that the CSTC result is a direct comparison to PV module efficiencies which are often reported under standard test conditions.

CPV installations[edit]

Competitors[edit]

Utility-scale solar power systems:

CPV system vendors:

Management Team[edit]

  • Vahan Garboushian, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board and Founder
  • Bob Williams, Chief Financial Officer
  • Adam Plesniak, Vice President, Product Development

Awards[edit]

  • Finalist for Solar Project of the Year from Power Engineering Magazine

[30]

  • 2010 R&D 100 Award[31]
  • Frost & Sullivan Growth Capital Investment Opportunity of the Year[32]
  • Cleantech 100 2010[33]
  • DOE SunShot BOS-X [19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Lecoufle, Fabian Kuhn. "A Place for PV, Tracked-PV and CPV: A Comparative Study of the Energy Production from the Three Technologies According to the Available Solar Resources". Lahmeyer International GmbH,. Retrieved 9 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "Cogentrix Energy's Alamosa Solar Generating Plant Begins Commercial Operation". Cogentrix News. 
  3. ^ "Biggest CPV Project in the US is up and running". GreenTech Media. 
  4. ^ "Cogentrix Energy's Alamosa Solar Generating Plant Begins Commercial Operation". Cogentrix News. 
  5. ^ a b "Solar cell efficiency tables (version 41)". John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 
  6. ^ a b "Opportunities and Challenges for Development of a Mature Concentrating Photovoltaic Power Industry". National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 
  7. ^ "Amonix Achieves World Record for PV Module Efficiency in Test at NREL". Business Wire. 
  8. ^ "Amonix Achieves World Record 35.9% PV Module Efficiency Rating at NREL". 
  9. ^ "Amonix, Inc.". Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  10. ^ a b "Bulk Power Generator Produces More Power Per Tower". National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved Nov 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "New, Cost-Competitive Solar Plants for Electric Utilities". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2010. 
  12. ^ Robert Gordon; Alexander Slade; Vahan Garboushian (September 2007). "A 30% efficient (>250 Watt) module using multijunction solar cells and their one-year on-sun field performance". High and Low Concentration for Solar Electric Applications II 6649. doi:10.1117/12.732700. 
  13. ^ US Department of Energy, "Photovoltaic Systems", Energy Basics, February 2011
  14. ^ "Amonix Breaks Another World Record For PV Module Efficiency". SolarLove.org. Archived from the original on 30 April 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program Annual Report, FY 2008". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2008. 
  16. ^ "Solar Industry Leader Amonix Acquires Sunworks Solar". eSolar Energy News. Retrieved 23 Dec 2009. 
  17. ^ "Amonix raises $129 million for concentrating photovoltaic technology". Venturebeat. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  18. ^ "$130M for Amonix: CPV Refined and Reconsidered". GreenTechMedia. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "DOE SunShot Awards". DOE. 
  20. ^ "Concentrating Solar Power Commercial Application Study: Reducing Water Consumption of Concentrating Solar Power Electricity Generation - Report to Congress". Department of Energy. 
  21. ^ Stephanie Rosenthal, "More Energy per Acre", Solar PV Management, August 2010, p70-73
  22. ^ "Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) - Global Installation Size, Cost Analysis, Efficiencies and Competitive Analysis to 2020". GlobalData. Retrieved Mar 2011. 
  23. ^ Philip Wong, Peter Peumans, Yoshio Nishi, Mark Brongersma, "Lateral Nanoconcentrator Nanowire Multijunction Photovoltaic Cells", Stanford University Global Climate & Energy Project, December 2007
  24. ^ "Concentrated Photovoltaics". Green Grid Partners. 
  25. ^ a b Steven, Lansel. "Technology and Future of III-V Multi-Junction Solar Cells". School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved 21 April 2005. 
  26. ^ "Determination of the Thermodynamic Limiting Efficiency of CPV Systems". Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Retrieved 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Super-Efficient Cells Key to Low-Cost Solar Power". National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 16 Feb 2011. 
  28. ^ "SILICON VALLEY-BASED SOLAR JUNCTION SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH AMONIX". 
  29. ^ "CPV Solar at Record 33 Percent Efficiency in Field". GreenTech Media. Retrieved August 2012. 
  30. ^ "Cogentrix Alamosa Solar Project Selected As Finalist For Solar Project of the Year". Cogentrix News. 
  31. ^ "2010 R&D 100 Awards Winners". R&D Magazine. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  32. ^ "Frost & Sullivan Presents the 2010 Excellence in Best Practices Awards". Frost & Sullivan. Retrieved 17 Nov 2010. 
  33. ^ "The 2010 Global Cleantech 100 Report". Cleantech Group LLC. Retrieved 2010. 

External links[edit]