French, US firms team up to develop better solar lenses

A manufacturer of semiconductor materials and a supplier of optical components are embarking on a joint venture to develop improved technologies for concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar power.

France’s Soitec and US-based Reflexite Energy Solutions are joining forces as Reflexite Soitec Optical Technology, a new company that will produce silicone-on-glass Fresnel lens plates used in Soitec’s CPV modules. Together, the two firms also plan to work on developing next-generation technologies to increase the efficiency and lower the cost of silicone-on-glass lens plates.

The joint company will make its base in a new Soitec CPV manufacturing facility to be built in San Diego, and expects to employ about 100 people.

“By working together under the same roof, we can ensure the continuous supply of superior-quality lens plates at the most competitive cost, and our future product development programs will be much more efficient by working in such close proximity,” said André Jacques Auberton-Hervé, president, CEO and chairman of Soitec.

Reflexite has been a long-time supplier of silicone-on-glass lens plates to Soitec, and its optics are key elements in Soitec-supplied CPV systems at solar power plant projects with a total capacity of more than 300 megawatts across the southwest US.

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