STMicroelectronics (ST) announced what it describes as an innovation for solar panels aimed at allowing more of the energy from each cell to reach the power grid. The innovation replaces the simple bypass diode with an intelligent device that enhances efficiency and offers 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 new 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. Compared to the use of diodes, 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.