Concentrating photovoltaics have long been considered as a potential solution to reduce the costs and to enhance the energy conversion efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) systems. However conventional concentrator technologies designed for large-scale applications have several issues impeding them from being competitive to flat-plate PV and are not directly portable to applications for small-scale mobile electronics. The proposed technology ICPV provides a solution to address these issues. It provides a new method in which the collection process of the light (optics) is spatially decoupled from the conversion process (solar cells) via the use of light guides. Such approach avoids the necessity of placing each PV cell beneath a concentrator. Hence optical power collection and conversion can be managed independently. The decoupling of optics and PV cells also facilitates fabrication and integration processes. Instead of having an array of sub-modules with individual PV cells and optics the current invention provides an approach that integrates collection concentration transportation splitting and other methods to manipulate the light in one optical sheet layer. The optical sheet transports the collected photons to PV cell(s) or another optical medium connected to distant PV cell(s) for power conversion. As a result ICPV systems greatly improve system compactness structural flexibility and mass production capability and significantly reduce costs.
1) Optical power collection and conversion can be managed independently. 2) Provides higher efficiency and lower costs than the flat-plate PV. 3) Very compact structure comparable to flat-plate PV.