Tony Blair and Vinod Khosla see a big future for Congenra, a solar co-generation (producing both power and heat) company formed just 15 months ago with a scant $10 million of funding. With five times more energy production than photovoltaic technologies, Cogenera’s system may help traditional investors discover that the economics of clean energy are quite attractive.
Cogenra has worked with “off the shelf” standard products and a “low-tech” approach. The parabolic solar thermal design doesn’t require curved glass, but has layered flat glass panels in a parabolic shape – simplicity has conquered complexity. This drops the capital required to launch Cogenra to a manageable $10 million.
Cogenra Solar’s proprietary technology captures up to 80 percent of the sun’s delivered energy and produces five times the energy of traditional PV systems. To achieve these dramatic efficiency gains, Cogenra integrates advanced silicon PV cells, concentrating optics with single-axis tracking and an innovative thermal transfer system in a low-cost and scalable design.
* For a standard installation in Fresno, California, with an average number of 194 sunny days per year, the typical payback period is 5 years