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photovoltaic modules for low (2-3 sun) concentrations...
13 jun 2001
rich komp replies...

from sunwatt@juno.com wed jun 13 10:48:12 2001
to: nick@ece.vill.edu, gnkoessptaemp@shentel.net
date: wed, 13 jun 2001 08:33:17 -0400
from: richard j komp 

dear george,

i'm back here in jonesport, maine for a couple of days but am leaving
tomorrow for the midwest renewable energy fair in wisconsin.  yes, i'm
afraid that i am running around a lot (more than at any other time in my
life, in fact).  we are doing a pv/hybrid workshop here in jonesport on
the 21st and 22nd of july; i will put both the short announcement and
some more details of the hybrid below your message. 

we did a very successful pv/hot water hybrid workshop in hampton court
in england last month.  we built a 150 watt module (designed for the 
climate, with a different reflector configuration for the hazy sun) and
installed it at the workshop, which had 35 participants.  i even got to
take a hot shower using the water from the hybrid, before i got on the
plane to come back to the us.

they now want to set up to make their own pv/hybrids in the uk, using
a different design than we use in brilliantly sunny nicaragua (where
we are also starting to make the modules, having had the extrusion die
made in el salvador).  the technikon (technical university) where i teach
in south africa, also has a group who want to put together the hybrids.
exciting times, everybody but dick chaney and his cronies want to use
renewable energy.

richard komp, president
sunwatt corporation
rr 2 box 7751
jonesport me 04649
207-497-2204, sunwatt@juno.com

coming events

pv/hot water hybrid workshop in maine

    mesea will again offer a weekend pv/hybrid workshop this summer here
at richard komp's off-grid home on the maine coast two miles from
jonesport, sponsored by maine decd's energy conservation office.  the
workshop is scheduled for saturday and sunday, 21-22 july and will cost
$75 for the event including saturday lunch and dinner and lunch on
sunday.  we have some limited accommodations for camping and there are a
couple of bed and breakfast places in jonesport.

if they wish, two of the participants will be able to take away the two
hybrids we make for a cost of $600 each.  these hybrids, made from the
aluminum extrusions brought from nicaragua will each produce 100 watts of
electricity as well as over 1 kw of heat energy for preheating domestic
hot water.  for more information, contact: mesea, rr 2 box 7751,
jonesport me 04649, e-mail: sunwatt@juno.com , phone: (207) 497-2204.

hybrid photovoltaic modules

the idea behind the hybrid pv module is simply this:  if you use
reflectors or lenses to concentrate  more sunlight onto a photovoltaic
cell, you will produce more electricity from the solar cell; but the
solar cell will heat up.  for example, if you use a set of mirrors to
double the amount of light striking the surface of the cell, you double
the output, more or less.  however, the excess energy from the sun shows
up as heat and the solar cells in a module will get so hot that the open
circuit voltage will drop, sometimes to the point where the output
voltage of the module is no longer sufficient to charge a battery
connected to the module.  also, continued operation at these high
temperatures (160 f is not an unusual temperature when mirrors
are used to double the light intensity) will finally "cook" the eva
encapsulant used to seal the solar cells into the module.

if you are using concentrators to get more work out of a set of solar
cells, you must arrange to somehow cool the cells.  about 25 years ago i
started to design a hybrid system to make this problem into an advantage.
i developed a system of extracting the waste heat and using it to heat
water for homes or businesses.  the system is quite simple and complete
instructions for building such a hybrid are given in my book practical
photovoltaics (aatec publications, ann arbor, michigan); but the essence is
mounting the solar cells onto an aluminum fin with a copper tube fastened
to the back, with a fluid to carry away the heat to a storage tank.

starting in 1981, sunwatt corp. actually manufactured and sold over
a hundred systems using this principle, using fins developed for
solar water heaters back when jimmy carter was president and using
renewable energy to solve our energy crisis was the "moral equivalent of
war".  over the years i refined the process, using high temperature
silicone encapsulants, for example to get around the problem of the eva
browning with time.  we even had workshops here in maine sponsored by the
maine solar energy association (mesea) to build these hybrids; one or two
of the participants would actually carry a finished hybrid away after the
workshop.  however, with the reagan administration and the return of
cheap oil, interest in solar energy in general and in the hybrid
disappeared.  it even got to be impossible to find the special aluminum
extrusions which were the heart of the heat transfer fins in the hybrid.

however, we again realize that renewables are very important and interest
in photovoltaic systems is greater than ever; and even interest in solar
water heaters has come back.  therefore, last year, while i was working
with the grupo fenix in nicaragua helping them to develop the "solar
culture" in that country; we went ahead and spent several thousand
dollars to have a new extrusion die made and a couple of hundred meters
of aluminum fins run off in el salvador.

we are now making solar water heaters and hybrid modules in nicaragua.
the 2 square meter area modules (about 20 square feet) have a design
operating temperature of 60 celsius (140f and cool enough to
keep the pv cells efficient) and will produce 100 watts of electricity
under am1 (1 kw/square meter) sunlight intensity, as well as about
1 kw of heat energy.  this is more than sufficient for the average
coffee grower (organic, of course) in his "finca" out in the mountains
where no power lines are available and the water from the local spring
is quite cold.

(actually, the growers of "certified organic" coffee made out quite well
this last season, in contrast to the rest of the growers who lost money
due to the depressed world market price for coffee; and several of them
showed up at the fenix somoto office ready to buy pv systems, cash in hand.
they were asking about the possibility of solar water heating as well).

there is also a revised interest in the hybrid here in the us as well as
in europe, so i decided to do a "technology transfer" and brought a
suitcase full of the extrusions back to maine with me.   mesea will again
offer a weekend pv/hybrid workshop this summer here at my place on the
coast two miles from jonesport.  the workshop is scheduled for saturday
and sunday, 21-22 july and will cost $75 for the event including saturday
lunch and dinner and lunch on sunday.  we have some limited accommodations
for camping and there are a couple of bed and breakfast places in jonesport.

if they wish, two of the participants will be able to take away the two
hybrids we make for a cost of $600 each.  please contact me at the
address or e-mail below for more information. i brought enough extrusions
for four hybrids but am going off to do a similar workshop in may in
england on my way to south africa, and will use up the other extrusions
building two hybrids into the roof of an old row house on the outskirts
of london.

richard komp, president
maine solar energy association
rr 2 box 7751
jonesport me 04649
207-497-2204, e-mail sunwatt@juno.com




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