STMicroelectronics Enhances Energy Efficiency from the Sun to the Grid

ST unveils the latest semiconductor innovations in photovoltaics at Solar Power International 2011, Booth 6001

Oct 18, 2011, 09:37 ET from STMicroelectronics

GENEVA, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications and a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for energy efficiency, is showcasing its latest innovations for the solar farms and energy efficient residences of tomorrow at Solar Power International 2011 in Dallas, USA.

"Solar power is one of the most promising renewable energy sources today. Maximising energy harvesting and conversion efficiency is critical to making solar energy commercially competitive with traditional dirty power-generation methods of burning coal, gas or oil, and this is where ST solutions come into play," said Steve Sachnoff, Vice President, Industrial Business Unit, ST's Americas Region.

At the vanguard of solar power electronics, ST provides complete system solutions that maximize energy-conversion efficiency all along the chain from solar panels to the grid. At Solar Power International, ST will reveal new advances for its SolarPlus reference design portfolio – which includes modules such as power optimizers, junction boxes, smart junction boxes, micro-inverters and inverters – that will enable next-generation installations to be more easily controlled and generate greater quantities of renewable energy.

ST's Solar Energy Booster (SPV1020) maximizes the amount of power harvested from a single solar panel, improving the overall efficiency of a photovoltaic system. It is the industry's first integrated circuit with both power-optimization and power-conversion functions. The device embeds a sophisticated MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) algorithm to guarantee the maximum power deliverable at any weather condition.

Employing the same concept, ST's SPV1040 solar charger suits mobile phones and other small portable devices that are equipped with a solar battery panel. The MPPT functionality compensates for changes in solar cells caused by temperature, ageing, dirt, or unit-to-unit variation, securing the maximum amount of power generation from each single solar cell. This results in longer equipment runtime and avoids an unexpected lack of power when a mains connection is not available.

ST's intelligent switch (SPV1001) enhances the energy-conversion efficiency at the solar-cell level. Compared to the use of traditional diodes, ST's switch operates at a lower temperature, which translates into longer lifetime and higher reliability. The switch minimizes current leakage when the photovoltaic panel is producing energy, by integrating highly efficient power components with logic-control circuitry. Integrated low-loss power switches and precision controllers allow each solar battery panel to deliver more electricity.

ST's micro-inverter plugs directly in the solar panel to create a photovoltaic module that changes DC voltage to AC voltage, a type of power needed to supply home appliances that typically operate off the mains. The micro-inverter helps maximize solar power extraction from each panel by employing the MPPT algorithm at the module level. A distributed approach to the grid-tied inverter technology, where individual modules are connected in parallel on the AC side, reduces the effect of dust, debris and shade on the panel array.

As a complete solution provider, ST also delivers all connectivity elements for solar applications, including power-line modems, ZigBee and Bluetooth modules.

Under the theme "From the Sun to the Grid," ST is exhibiting at Solar Power International 2011 from October 17-20, 2011, at the Dallas Convention Center, Dallas - Booth # 6001.

About STMicroelectronics

STMicroelectronics is a global leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications with innovative semiconductor solutions. ST aims to be the undisputed leader in multimedia convergence and power applications leveraging its vast array of technologies, design expertise and combination of intellectual property portfolio, strategic partnerships and manufacturing strength. In 2010, the Company's net revenues were $10.35 billion. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com

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