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Silicon carbide devices boast increased energy yield

Posted: 12 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:silicon carbide? solar energy? bipolar diode?

STMicroelectronics has announced its silicon carbide devices that according to the company enable systems producers to build ultra-efficient electronics for converting raw solar energy into grid-quality power. As a base material for diodes targeting solar-power conversion applications, silicon carbide is superior to ordinary silicon bipolar technology, noted the company.

Silicon carbide diodes can switch rapidly between conducting and non-conducting states without suffering the reverse recovery current that occurs when switching bipolar diodes. Eliminating this unwanted effect saves up to 70 percent of energy normally lost, maintains high efficiency over a wide temperature range, and enhances freedom for designers to optimize the system operating frequency, the company indicated.

ST's trials using 1.2kV silicon carbide diodes have shown a two percent increase in overall inverter yield, even when operating at high load and high frequency. Over the intended lifetime of inverters used in installations such as residential photovoltaic systems and high-power solar farms, this improvement can effectively save many Megawatt-hours of valuable energy, added ST.

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