Analytic free-form lens design for tracking integration in concentrating photovoltaics
In this work the concept of tracking integration in concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) is revisited and developed further. With respect to conventional CPV, tracking integration eliminates the clear separation between stationary units of optics and solar cells, and external solar trackers. This approach is capable of further increasing the concentration ratio and makes high concentrating photovoltaics (< 500x) available for single-axis tracker installations. The reduced external solar tracking effort enables possibly cheaper and more compact installations. Our proposed optical system uses two laterally moving plano-convex lenses to achieve high concentration over a wide angular range of ±24°. The lateral movement allows to combine both steering and concentration of the incident direct sun light. Given the specific symmetry conditions of the underlying optical design problem, rotational symmetric lenses are not ideal for this application. For this type of design problems, a new free-form optics design method presented in previous papers perfectly matches the symmetry. It is derived directly from Fermat's principle, leading to sets of functional differential equations allowing the successive calculation of the Taylor series coeficients of each implicit surface function up to very high orders. For optical systems designed for wide field of view and with clearly separated optical surfaces, this new analytic design method has potential application in both fields of nonimaging and imaging optics.