Griffith Hack Clean & Sustainable Technologies


Money pours into AMONIX; Concentrated solar photovoltaics by Justin Blows
April 22, 2010, 10:18 am
Filed under: Feature

The blogosphere is abuzz (see here, and here for example) with the news that venture capitalists Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and others have poured a massive US$129.4 into AMONIX, a US company that specialises in concentrated solar photovoltaics (CPV).

The venture capitalists are quoted as stating that:

Amonix CPV systems have emerged as the lowest cost solar technology for sunny and dry environments

press release from the company states:

Amonix designs and manufactures concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems that require less water, use land better, and produce more energy per acre than any other solar technology.

Did I miss something?  Isn’t this is a considerable change in direction?  It is often argued that solar thermal is the lowest cost solar technology.  Here is a quote from a press release announcing the sale of AUSRA, a concentrated solar thermal company, to AREVA:

Combining Ausra’s proven technology and AREVA’s world leading Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) skills, the group is committed to building the most cost-effective CSP plants for utilities, independent power producers and industrial customers around the world. [emphasis added]

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also a shareholder in AUSRA.

 So what is the technology?  This is from the AMONIX web site:

The patented Amonix MegaModule® design incorporates Fresnel lenses, the mounting structure, and multijunction solar cells into a single factory-fabricated assembly. The lenses are affixed to the top of a rectangular steel frame, with 30 corresponding solar cells mounted onto each receiver plate, affixed below. At 10’ x 49’, each MegaModule contains 36 paired receiver plates and lens sets, producing ~10 kW (DC). The integration of the lenses, mounting structure, and multijunction cells into a single unit eliminates more than 75% of the parts and associated costs compared to other concentrator designs.

It is good to see a solar company that appreciates good patents and good trade marks!  I found these patents assigned to AMONIX.  Interestingly, there does not appear to be any filed patents outside of the US.   Many cleantech companies fail to realise the importance of their brand and the importance of protecting that brand.  How much more valuable would AMONIX become if it secured registered trade marks?

Justin Blows

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