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CAT Microgrid Solutions

The transformative age of renewables, especially solar, is upon us. Photovoltaic costs have been halved, and halved again since 2002 which makes PV as cost effective as traditional power sources. Renewables now account for half of new power generation capacity worldwide.

The rectangular blue/black photovoltaic module is a new icon for grid independence, cheap power, environmental stewardship and explosive growth. From 1,000 acre solar farms to residential rooftops, to remote off-grid areas, PV is transforming the way the world makes power.

In 2014 Caterpillar began laying the foundation to become the world’s leading microgrid supplier. Through partnerships with best-in-class suppliers, CAT-branded components – modules, racks, inverters, energy storage units – are ready for market. The CAT microgrid team has created a complete quick-start package for dealers including software, procedures, templates and guidelines. Standard PV mini- blocks in various sizes have been pre-engineered as an alternative to highly customized systems.


Get superior efficiency, higher energy yield, and long-term reliability from an affordable, field proven module. Thin Film Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) technology continues to set performance records in both research and real world environments. The 16.3% thin film module efficiency beats best-in-class multicrystalline. It also holds the current world record for CdTe PV module efficiency, achieving 18.2% for an advanced, full-size module. And the innovative design and quality construction pass the industry’s most rigorous protocols.


Land Use Advantage

As a result of higher efficiency, Cat® modules offer higher power density with comparable land use when compared to typical c-Si modules, resulting in more installed capacity per square meter (m2).

Specific Energy Yield Advantage

Thin film high efficiency modules have a proven specific energy yield advantage to deliver more usable energy per nameplate watt than conventional c-Si modules. Specific annual energy yield captures operating data over a year of module performance during varying real-world conditions where temperature, sunlight intensity, and solar spectrum all change throughout the days and seasons.

Specific Energy Yield Advantage


Higher Energy Production in Hot Conditions

All PV modules produce less power than their nameplate as temperatures rise above their labeled 25°C standard test condition. In hot climates, module operating temperatures will exceed 25°C for as much as 90% of generating hours. With a lower temperature co-efficient of power, CAT modules produce more energy than cSi modules. Thin film CdTe module temperature co-efficient is 0.34%/°C, compared to ~0.45%/°C for c-Si modules. For example, on a 40°C day, a thin film module would reach 65°C operating temperate. In such conditions the thin film modules produce up to 5% more power than c-Si modules on average.

Over a year in hot climate conditions, this high temperature advantage adds up to 2% more annual energy than c-Si modules. Spectral Response Advantage in Humid Conditions Sunlight is comprised of multiple wavelengths and various intensities of light. The intensity of wavelengths that reach the earth’s surface is influenced by atmospheric conditions. The largest impact on intensity is due to water vapor in the atmosphere, commonly correlated to high humidity. PV technologies respond differently to different light wavelengths. On humid days, water in the atmosphere reduces specific wavelengths of available light. Because Cat CdTe modules are less sensitive to reductions in wavelengths most affected by this type of high atmospheric water content, the thin film modules produce up to 6% more annual energy in humid conditions.

Minimal Power Loss with Better Shading Response

When shading occurs, thin film’s unique cell design ensures only the shaded portion is impacted, while the rest of the module continues to produce power. Typical c-Si modules turn off disproportionately large portions of module to protect them from damage. In an environment with 10% shading, a thin film module will still produce 90% power, compared to a 30% loss of power with a standard c-Si module.

Greater Energy Yield Drives Lower Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE)

While module efficiency identifies the power produced by a module in standard test conditions, the specific annual energy yield metric shows the energy produced in a year of real world conditions. When evaluating return on investment (ROI) for a solar power plant, energy yield has a big impact on the overall LCOE. Thin film high efficiency modules are proven to deliver more usable energy per nameplate watt than conventional silicon-based modules. For an equivalently designed and installed power plant priced at the same $/watt, a thin film plant will produce more energy, resulting in a lower LCOE (₹/MWh).

Greater Energy Yield Drives Lower Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE)