In 2012, when the Alamosa Solar project was put online, concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology held great promise. By concentrating sunlight on to multi-junction solar cells, the technology offers higher efficiency than standard crystalline silicon PV, as well as higher output in the morning and evening through the use of dual-axis tracking systems.
However it is difficult to ensure investors of the reliability of any new technology. And with the fall of crystalline silicon prices CPV’s allure unravelled, with leading developers failing to complete large projects. Eventually market leader Soitec got out of the CPV business in January 2015, as the final sign that CPV was done for in Western nations.
However, Chinese companies have shown an ongoing interest in CPV, and now one of the world’s largest utilities is buying into the technology. Today Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) announced that it has signed a contract to acquire the 30 MW Alamosa Solar Project (link in Korean) from a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group. According to Reuters, KEPCO has also signed an MOU with Carlyle to form an independent power producer (IPP) business and a renewable energy business.
This is KEPCO’s first presence in the U.S. electricity market. Financial terms for the sale of the project were not disclosed.