Boeing Licenses HCPV Technology To Stirling Energy Systems
New Energy Finance : March 31 2010
Aerospace and defence giant Boeing has licensed its high-concentration PV technology to engine-based solar systems developer Stirling Energy Systems. Under the deal, SES acquired the exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and deploy Boeing’s XR700 HCPV technology globally. Tessera Solar, SES’ project development affiliate, will be responsible for development, construction and operation of solar power projects using the XR700.
Tessera currently develops projects using its 25kW SunCatcher system, which is powered by an SES engine to convert the sun’s heat to electricity. Tessera expects to begin construction on three SunCatcher projects in Texas and California this year, together worth over 1.6GW. The company said it will use Boeing’s HCPV technology for distributed generation projects smaller than 50MW and its SunCatchers for projects larger than 50MW.
Boeing (NYSE: BA) began developing the XR700 technology in 2007 in collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies programme. The technology development phase is expected to continue for the next two years before achieving commercial-scale deployment in 2012.
The XR700 technology uses a non-imaging optical system to concentrate sunlight by a factor of 700 onto high-efficiency, triple-junction solar cells currently supplied to Boeing by its subsidiary Spectrolab. The cells have reportedly reached efficiencies of above 41%, nearly double that of conventional crystalline silicon-based PV.
Boeing is currently developing a 100kw project at California State University, Northridge, using the technology. The project is slated to enter operation during 3Q 2010.
Both SES and its affiliate Tessera are majority-owned by Ireland-based renewable energy company NTR.