Ok, we weren’t expecting to end up on the main page of Digg, and definitely not this early in our product development. We’re in the prototype phase right now, and we won’t have panels for sale for about a year (sooner possibly, but some of the time lines depend on certification processes over which we don’t have control). Also, the original, and much more detailed article about us was published by Jennifer Kho of Greentech Media.
We’re going to be installing a demonstration unit in the next 4 to 6 weeks at the Earth Rangers Centre in Woodbridge, Ontario.
We’re posting some additional images of the Sun Simba HCPV along with details fairly soon – this weekend or early next week. What we’re going to post should give a solid background on what it looks like, how it works, why it has better thermal and wind load characteristics than other CPV panels and most of all, why it’s affordable.
Here are a couple of images that we have ready now; these and others will be embedded within the site itself in the product page soon.
That’s an image of the panel itself. A couple of notes – each of those rows is made up of thin acrylic optics coupled to the PV, and they’re held in place by an aluminum “H”. You can see a cross section of the H-frame better in the images below.
Here you can see a computer model of the thermal properties of the Sun Simba HCPV. By having the heat on the edge of an open system that allows for air flow, heat escapes much faster than it can build up. This image is for 30 degrees Celsius ambient air, but in real world applications, the hottest spot on the panels is likely to be considerably cooler. (Factors such as air humidity, wind, even gentle breezes and other factors can impact the system thermal properties in our favour.) As we develop more models, and as we run experiments on live modules, we’ll update these results.
We’re experimenting with the optimal vertical spacing of the rows and have found we can go quite small without hurting the thermals. These are roughly 10 cm wide, 3 cm high, and in this image spaced around 3 cm apart. In the final version, the gaps will be smaller.
Also note, this tracks the sun, so the lower panels are never in the shadows of the panels above.
This image shows the wind loading. We’re running models of normal panels without the air spaces, and the exact amount of reduction in wind load depends on the speed of the wind, but with 70 km/h winds, the forces are reduced by around 60% of what they would be for a typical solar panel. The forces due to the wind are much more significant than those due to the weight of the panels, so the tight requirements on tracker stiffness are substantially relaxed. By reducing the wind load, you reduce downtime, and reduce tracker costs.
We’re publishing more details soon.