Theoutput of a solar cell is diminished if the temperature of the cellrises above a critical point. This might not be a problem if a companyplans a solar power plant for Alaska, but it has a considerable impacton the efficiency of a power plant in other much warmer parts of theworld. ZenithSolar thinksthat they have just nailed the issue with a hybrid plant that provideselectricity till the time solar panels are cool and once thetemperature rises they provide hot water. According to the company,this intelligent combination enables the plant to convert 75% of thesunlight it absorbs into useful electricity and hot water, with a costof 8.6 cents per kilowatt hour.
Thecompany is now planning a solar filed that takes up a half-acre lot atthe edge of Kibbutz in central Israel. The plant will have 16 units,each with two 11-square meter dishes and will be unveiled on April 26.These dishes are a combination of 1200 small mirrors that concentratesunlight on a four-inch panel of PV cells made from a special material.These mirrors are able to enhance the intensity of sunlight 1000 fold.About a third of the output of this plant, accounting to 70KW, will beelectricity. The rest heat is transferred into water which doubles as acoolant.
The company plans to launch small units in two years,which can be used to power and heat a normal home. These units would beable to generate 15KW of combined electric and thermal output and wouldcost about $29,500 and would be able to work for 15 years.