FOCUS Project

Solar energy remains the best alternative for a truly sustainable power infrastructure to support the human race into the foreseeable future.  As such, it is effectively captured either as electricity by photovoltaic (PV) devices or as heat by concentrating solar power (CSP).  The former can be quite cost-effective, but cannot utilize the entire solar spectrum and storage is difficult and expensive.  The latter has advantages of utilizing the full solar spectrum and efficient thermal storage, but does not directly produce electricity.

Accordingly, this project aims to combine advantages of CSP and PV technologies to achieve greater efficiency, better dispatchability, and higher capacity factor at reasonable cost than can be achieved by either technology alone. The hybrid CPV/CSP system aims for substantial enhancement of economic and energy security of the United States.  When combined with thermal storage, the flexibility of the proposed hybrid system will improve the energy efficiency of the existing and future grid. Currently, intermittency is a severe barrier with installed capacity of all renewables (solar, wind, etc.).