The PowerTree is born as the outcome of a collaborative R&D project carried out by a set of four industry and research partners. This consortium has been coordinated by BSQ Solar, a leading High Concentration Photovoltaics Manufacturer (HCPV) manufacturer and included the School of Architecture of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (ETSAM-UPM), ISFOC, the world's no.1 testing and certification center for HCPV technology, and Fagor, a principal electronics contract manufacturer.
The project was partly funded by the RETOS (meaning Challenges in Spanish) grant program of the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities.
The project's main objective was to tap for urban environments the extremely high surface energy densities of HCPV solar electricity compared to conventional rooftop photovoltaics. The intention is to accelerate our cities' needed transition towards decarbonization and sustainability by adding new efficient tools to increase solar penetration. Hence, the PowerTree results from a scheme to develop a well-suited HCPV generator for present-day cities or new urban planning; however, inherently, this objective gave way also to the aggregation of added features that enhanced the design's value in urban environments, such as an urban air cleaning system, energy-efficient lighting, or visual information systems.
The project ran from 2018 to 2020. By December of 2020, performance testing of the first PowerTree unit installed at the premises of ISFOC was deemed successful, giving way to the current product launching phase.
About the Development
Founded in 2009, is a Spanish solar energy company, specializing in the development and manufacturing of High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) systems. By using tiny multi-junction solar cells, that already double the efficiency of conventional silicon solar cells, a sustainable industrial path is provided towards cheap solar electricity based on high conversion efficiencies and local manufacturing. With more than a decade of intensive field-testing and thorough development in the lab, the BSQ HCPV system combines high efficiency and high concentration non-imaging optics (820X concentration factor) with a simple and rugged module design. Modules are optimally complemented by a subdgree-accurate and robust sun tracker. BSQ has installed its systems in over 20 countries in four continents, some of them running continuously for more than 10 years. Its products and manufacturing processes are certified according to all relevant quality standards. BSQ engineering and sales office is in Madrid and its manufacturing premises are in Yeles (Toledo).
Founded in 1844, it is the oldest school of architecture in Spain. Since 1936 it is located in Madrid’s main university campus, the Ciudad Universitaria. Among its professors and alumni, many of the most prestigious architects in Spain, with one Pritzker Prize and 40 Spain’s Architecture National Prizes. In 2021 ETSAM-UPM ranks no. 37 in the World’s QS Ranking of architecture faculties.
It has been its Department of Construction and Technology in Architecture, the one participating in the PowerTree development project which, among other things, has collaborated to the integration in the PowerTree of its patented technology for urban air cleaning, the so-called MUAC (Modules for Air Urban Cleaning).
Founded in 2007, ISFOC (Institute for Concentration Photovoltaics Systems) is a research and development institution incorporated in the Instituto de Finanzas of the Castilla la Mancha Government, one of the Autonomous Regions of Spain. ISFOC is the result of the R&D plan promoted by the Department of Education and Science of the Castilla la Mancha Government and the Institute of Solar Energy of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (IES-UPM). ISFOC’s main premises, including its laboratories and its primary photovoltaic testing plants, are in Puertollano (Ciudad Real). ISFOC was envisioned as a vehicle to develop the high concentration photovoltaics (HCPV) technology, which remains its chief goal. Aiming to generate key knowledge on this technology, ISFOC runs since 2008 a total of 3MW of HCPV plants, incorporating an ample range of technologies sourced from a broad set of international manufacturers, thus has become an international reference center in the testing of HCPV technologies.
Within the PowerTree project, ISFOC has been mainly in charge of the testing, certification, and performance monitoring of the PowerTree developments.
Fagor Electrónica is a company that develops and manufactures electronic components and systems since 1966. Its headquarters are in Mondragón (Guipúzcoa) and commercially operates on five continents. Fagor Electrónica is integrated into Mondragon Componentes, which, in turn, is divided into four global business divisions clearly differentiated in regard to technologies, applications, and markets, but all of them with a mission: to develop an internationally competitive business group, to achieve a global presence by providing the most innovative response to the needs of its customers in the sectors of white goods, home-comfort, electronic components, and Fleet Management. Mondragon Componentes is, in turn, a Division of Mondragón Corporación Cooperativa (MCC), one of the leading Spanish business groups that incorporates more than 250 companies and cooperatives, 15 technology centers, and employs more than 74,000 people. MCC has production subsidiaries and corporate offices in 41 countries and sales in more than 150 with total revenue of €11.9 billion.
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