Photovoltaic systems offer the potential of providing a significant portion of the nation’s electrical energy needs by converting solar energy directly into electrical energy. The major obstacle preventing this potential from being realized is the cost of photovoltaic systems. One approach to reducing system cost is to concentrate sunlight on the photovoltaic cells, increasing their output and, hence, decreasing the amount of cell area required for a given power output. This concept essentially trades high cost cell area for lower cost concentrating optics area. Photovoltaic concentrator technology is still in the development stages but has made considerable progress and gained significant attention during the past few years. This technology is described and its future potential is discussed. In addition, brief summaries of several concentrator applications experiments which are in the system design phase are presented. The purpose of these experiments are to provide on-site experience with photovoltaic concentrator systems.

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