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Photovoltaic generator with a spherical imaging lens for use with a paraboloidal solar reflector

United States Patent

January 8, 2013
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
The invention is a generator for photovoltaic conversion of concentrated sunlight into electricity. A generator according to the invention incorporates a plurality of photovoltaic cells and is intended for operation near the focus of a large paraboloidal reflector pointed at the sun. Within the generator, the entering concentrated light is relayed by secondary optics to the cells arranged in a compact, concave array. The light is delivered to the cells at high concentration, consistent with high photovoltaic conversion efficiency and low cell cost per unit power output. Light enters the generator, preferably first through a sealing window, and passes through a field lens, preferably in the form of a full sphere or ball lens centered on the paraboloid focus. This lens forms a concentric, concave and wide-angle image of the primary reflector, where the intensity of the concentrated light is stabilized against changes in the position of concentrated light entering the generator. Receiving the stabilized light are flat photovoltaic cells made in different shapes and sizes and configured in a concave array corresponding to the concave image of a given primary reflector. Photovoltaic cells in a generator are also sized and interconnected so as to provide a single electrical output that remains high and stable, despite aberrations in the light delivered to the generator caused by, for example, mispointing or bending of the primary reflector. In some embodiments, the cells are set back from the image formed by the ball lens, and part of the light is reflected onto each cell small secondary reflectors in the form of mirrors set around its perimeter.
Angel; Roger P (Tucson, AZ)
Arizona Board of Regents on Behalf of University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
12/ 463,016
May 8, 2009
This invention was funded by the United States Government under the Department of Energy contract No. DE-FG36-08G088002. The U.S. government has certain rights in this invention.