Design and operation of a versatile, low-cost, high-flux solar simulator for automated CPV cell and module testing

Armin Buchroithner*, Bernhard Gerl, Richard Felsberger, Hannes Wegleiter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solar power generation plays an increasingly important role in the context of the energy revolution. Apart from the widely used crystalline silicon photovoltaic (c-Si PV) cells and flat plate vacuum solar thermal collectors for decentralized energy generation, concentrating solar power systems are on the rise due to their ability to reach high process temperatures and/or high photovoltaic (PV) efficiencies. In order to push technological advancements in this field, high-flux solar simulators are required for development and testing of components and modules under reproducible conditions. This paper describes the design process, manufacturing and commissioning of a versatile, low-cost, high-flux solar simulator for the investigation of concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cells or other parts and modules used in concentrating solar systems. The design and development process of the solar simulator is described in detail, starting with the compilation of the requirement list, followed by the selection of the correct light source, all the way to the measurement technology and graphic user interface. The solar simulator is also characterized based on IEC and ASTM standards regarding spectral mismatch, concentration factor, temporal stability, as well as adjustability for a variety of measurement tasks. It can reach adjustable concentration factors of more than 200 suns in an area of 50 x 50 mm and the cost was kept below 5000 €. Finally, exemplary test results of an Azurspace 3C44 multi-junction cell under different concentration factors are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-404
Number of pages18
JournalSolar Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Concentrator
  • CPV
  • CPV-T
  • HFSS
  • High flux
  • Hybrid solar collector
  • Photovoltaic
  • Solar power
  • Solar simulator
  • Solar thermal absorber
  • Test rig

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Application


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