Cooperation For Concentrating Photovoltaic Technology Research in Saudi Arabia

Soitec, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, signed a cooperative agreement with Medina College of Technology (MCT) – a part of the Saudi Arabian Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) – in the presence of HE Vice Governor of TVTC, Dr. Hamad bin Ogla Alogla. This three-year agreement will foster applied research in the area of concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology in Saudi Arabia while allowing implementation of a joint training program on CPV within the TVTC and MCT curricula.

image thumb1 Cooperation For Concentrating Photovoltaic Technology Research in Saudi ArabiaUnder the terms of this agreement, Soitec has installed a CPV demonstration system on the MCT campus in Medina, Saudi Arabia. It will serve as a platform for applied research projects concerning solar energy in the Middle East and CPV performance in sunny, hot and arid conditions. The agreement focuses on knowledge transfer and will enhance the capabilities of Saudi trainers and trainees from MCT. Soitec will provide opportunities for MCT students to acquire skills on installing, operating, monitoring and maintaining CPV systems. To initiate this partnership, 10 professors and students from Saudi Arabia will participate in a dedicated training program organized by Soitec at its facility in Freiburg, Germany. Soitec also will aid in co-designing TVTC’s solar industry curriculum, which will better prepare MCT students and Saudi nationals to service the burgeoning Saudi solar utility market.

Our government estimates that demand for electricity in Saudi Arabia should exceed 120 GW in 20 years. To meet these growing needs, the Kingdom intends to introduce a significant amount of alternative sources in its energy mix,” stated HE Vice Governor of TVTC, Dr. Hamad bin Ogla Alogla. “With this agreement, we ensure that our students will acquire the most advanced knowledge and skills regarding solar energy and CPV technology, which they will need when entering their professional lives.

According to K.A. CARE, the institution established by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to implement the national renewable energy policy, solar energy will reach 41 GW of installed capacity by 2032. For Gaetan Borgers, Executive Vice President of Soitec’s Solar Division, “CPV technology is perfectly suited for countries that benefit from year-long high solar irradiation, such as Saudi Arabia. Our demonstration system installed in Medina is performing very well. Thanks to this cooperation with the Medina College of Technology, we will be able to further test and demonstrate our technology’s competitiveness under desert conditions while supporting its deployment. I am very pleased that this agreement also reflects our strong commitment to the Kingdom’s educational sector. Soitec is happy to share its expertise to lay the foundations of a growing level of employment in the renewable industry in the Kingdom.

About the CPV technology developed by Soitec

Soitec’s CPV technology uses triple-junction cells mounted on a glass plate. Fresnel lenses (manufactured using silicone on glass) concentrate sunlight 500 times before it reaches these cells, which convert it into electricity. A metal frame holds two glass plates to form highly robust, durable and resilient modules. By combining several modules on biaxial trackers, which use a proprietary algorithm to automatically optimize their position based on the path of the sun, Soitec’s technology maximizes energy generation throughout the day.

With yields of 30% from its CPV modules, Soitec achieves at least twice the performance of conventional photovoltaic technologies. Combined with low installation and maintenance costs, this leading efficiency is making CPV technology the most cost-efficient solution for high-volume power generation in regions with high direct normal irradiation (DNI).

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