Morgan Solar: Simple, Cheap, and Efficient Concentrated Solar Tech, Part 2

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sun simba

A few weeks ago, I posted a brief introduction to Morgan Solar, a Toronto-based start-up that has invented a new method for building simple and cheap solar concentrators. Many of you asked for more details, so I asked Nicolas Morgan, the company’s Director of Business Development, some in-depth questions about Morgan Solar.

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The company, which was founded last summer by Nicolas’ brother John Paul as a result of frustration with the high cost of renewable energy, has developed a new type of concentrated solar photovoltaic (CPV) system called the Sun Simba HCPV. The Sun Simba is currently designed for solar farm applications, but future designs will be adapted for smaller rooftops. As of right now, a Sun Simba system mounted on a tracker with an area of 200 square meters will deliver 50 kW of electricity.

As I noted in my previous post about Morgan Solar, the company’s technology draws comparisons to MIT’s organic dye technology. According to Nicolas Morgan, the two technologies are completely different.

While the MIT technology operates at concentrations of 40 suns (40 times concentration), the Morgan Solar technology operates at between 500 suns and 1000 suns, with the option to scale even higher. In other words, Morgan Solar’s method is much more powerful.

Also, MIT’s technology uses dyes, while the Morgan Solar tech does not. And MIT’s method uses different layers to concentrate different parts of the spectrum, while the Sun Simba collects all of its light from a single 5 mm thick optical system.

At the same time, Morgan notes, “There’s nothing that makes our technology better than theirs…it’s doubtful that their technology and ours will be used for the same applications or in the same sort of systems.”

A demonstration prototype of the Sun Simba will be set up next month in Woodbridge, Ontario. The system, which concentrates 350 suns, will ultimately provide up to 2.5 kW of power. Prototypes concentrating 1000 suns will be set up in the US, Canada, and Spain in 2009, and full production is expected late in 2009.

But it’s not all about financial success for Morgan. “We’re a business, obviously, but I feel good knowing that a lot more solar energy might get rolled out because of what we’re doing here. If I’m able to offset an extra few million tons of carbon, if I’m able to help people get electricity where they might not have it otherwise, I’ll feel really good about that.”

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