Isofotón is known in 60 countries for its ability to convert solar energy into electricity, efficiently and cleanly. “We implemented our system for the first time in Spain, using a photovoltaic module made from solar cells based on silicon wafers”, explains Vicente Díaz Luque, manager of Isofotón’s concentrated photovoltaic division.
The company was founded in 1981 in Malaga as a spin-off from a university project, after having proven its innovative concentrated photovoltaic solar technology.
This innovative system for generating energy was created more than 30 years ago, driven by the need for electricity on farms and rural properties to carry out agricultural activities such as pumping water for irrigation. Due to their isolated locations outside of the electric grid, they required a system that offered an autonomous electricity supply. The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid carried out research to create a silicon photovoltaic module that would enable electricity to be generated without the need for a grid connection, using energy from the sun. Following the creation of Isofotón, the project’s managers tried to design solar panels that would offer higher performance at a lower cost, based on these requirements.
Photovoltaic cells work using the photoelectric effect, emitting electrons when electromagnetic radiation comes into contact with a material. This is the basis of transforming light into electricity. Semi-conductor materials, such as silicon, work on a band model. When the lowermost band is completely full, due to the short distance between it and the conduction band electrons are able to pass to the second empty band, which generates an electrical current.
Around 1985, Isofotón perfected its silicon concentration module. From this year onwards, it invested in technology to develop new business lines such as thermal correctors and heat capture modules to heat water in pavilions and gymnasiums. The Isofotón product developed a global reputation and was sold in Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Belgium and Israel, among other countries.
Isofotón’s photovoltaic module is more efficient than others in the market, “because its light concentration cells achieve efficiency levels of around 40%, while competing modules achieve only 18%”, says Díaz Luque. The Spanish company expects this efficiency ratio to rise to 50% in the next six years, “which will be a milestone in the sector” adds the company’s concentrated photovoltaic manager.
ISF 210 Isofoton's photovoltaic cell. Source: www.isofoton.com