Instituto de Sistemas Fotovoltaicos de Concentración, Puertollano, Spain
Solar energy solutions have long been considered promising concepts that have not yet matured into viable commercial investments. Spain's Instituto de Sistemas Fotovoltaicos de Concentracion (ISFOC) is working with seven upstart companies to change this by constructing utility-sized solar facilities in four different areas throughout the country. This article examines the development and progress of the first plant to use concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology, a project which is expected to demonstrate that CPV technology is a viable renewable energy source. It explains the concept of using CPV and describes this project's evolution. It identifies the lessons learned during the first two years of implementing this ongoing project and the financial bureaucratic challenges which are affecting the project's progress. It then details how one vendor, US-based SolFocus, overcame its project challenges. It looks at how CPV has evolved since it was introduced in the 1970s.