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Switch increases solar cell efficiency

Posted: 21 Oct 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:switch? controller? solar cell?

STMicroelectronics launched a device for solar panels that allows more of the energy from each cell to reach the power grid. The device takes the place of a simple bypass diode, enhancing efficiency within the same package outline. The new device can deliver a fast return-on-investment, in terms of releasing additional energy for solar panel applications.

ST's SPV1001 contains a low-loss power switch and a precision controller. Directly replacing bypass diodes, which are used to prevent hotspot effects, the SPV1001 protects the energy normally lost in each diode. The integrated power switch provides negligible leakage current when the photovoltaic (PV) panel is producing energy. ST's BCD6 chip fabrication process provides the key to this advance by integrating highly efficient power components with logic control circuitry.

 ST's SPV1001 contains a low-loss power switch and a precision controller

In addition to package options enabling one-for-one replacement of bypass diodes in the solar panel's junction box, the SPV1001 is available in an MLPD package that can be laminated directly into the panel, due to the device's ultra-low-profile and minimal power losses. This will simplify electronic design and assembly while also boosting system reliability.

Major features of the SPV1001 include production on BCD6 and EHD5 power MOSFET processes; low conduction losses when operating in bypass mode; low leakage current minimizes losses in bypass stand-by mode; lower operating temperature optimizes junction box design; and high robustness to surge and lightning currents; integration of power and control functions.

The SPV1001 comes in TO-220 or D2PAK packages, pin- and outline-compatible with existing bypass diodes, with an optional ultralow-profile Power MLPD package. Pricing is about $3 for a minimum order of 1,000 units, depending on the package version. Alternative pricing options are available for larger quantities.

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