Microtech2010 2010

Case Study – Making Solar Power Environmentally Friendly

S. Horne
SolFocus, Inc., US

Keywords: solar, energy, sustainability, manufacturing, environmental footprint, lifecycle analysis


Environmental stewardship is a value that SolFocus, leading developer of concentrator photovoltaic solar technology, holds in high regard, and is committed to providing the world with a viable solution for clean energy throughout its product’s lifecycle, from cradle to cradle. At the inception of both product design and manufacturing, SolFocus engineers took into account key environmental concerns – climate change, water use, habitat impact, and end of life recyclability. In this case study, SolFocus will discuss how its innovative, advanced solar technology, concentrator photovoltaics (CPV), offers low-cost solar while maintaining high environmental standards. Working with academic experts in the field of sustainable manufacturing, SolFocus analyzed its product’s lifecycle to guide product design and manufacturing operations. The young company took this lifecycle analysis into consideration when orchestrating their global business plan for high volume manufacturing and design. Apart from an improved product energy payback and energy efficient, volume manufacturing practices, SolFocus designed other key environmental-friendly attributes into its CPV systems. These include material use efficiency, ground footprint, water use, land impact compared to energy generation, and product greenhouse gas intensity. SolFocus CTO will discuss these considerations, the rational for them, and how key environmental attributes shaped a company and its product innovation.
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