Concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems are one of the most promising technologies for future energy supply. Several studies reported the interest of using a Fresnel lens coupled with a secondary optical element in such a system. For high concentration factor, the optimization of the optical configuration plays a key role regarding electrical performances. On the other hand, the thermal management of the solar cell is also critical to ensure a better module efficiency. This paper presents a study of a ×1024 CPV system performances and a methodology for estimating the optical chain efficiency, the cell temperature impact and the alignment requirements. Module efficiencies were then measured as a function of the cell temperature and correlated to optical performances through current-tension characterizations under real solar illumination conditions and the estimation of the power density received by the solar cell. The system yield was up to 27% for a cell temperature around 30 °C, confirming that high concentration ratio should be of great interest in the near future. A 1D model was also developed in order to quantify the possible improvements of this CPV system. Using a solar cell with an efficiency of 36.7% at ×600, we then demonstrated that the ×1024 CPV system could reach up to 30% in standard test conditions. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.