National Semiconductor and Suntech to develop Smart Panel technology

National Semiconductor and Suntech to develop Smart Panel technology

National Semiconductor Corp. is collaborating with Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. to develop “smart panel” technology, incorporating National Semiconductor’s SolarMagic power optimizer chipset into Suntech solar panels to improve the power output of solar systems.

"Smart panel technology is an important innovation that will help customers harvest more energy from their solar systems. We are pleased to collaborate with National Semiconductor to drive the development of this technology," says Shijun Cai, senior vice president of Suntech.

The announcement follows a May 2009 statement in which the companies announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Suntech to evaluate National Semiconductor’s SolarMagic technology with the intention of jointly promoting the technology and developing future solutions. Suntech has completed its evaluation and the two companies have advanced to the development phase.

"Suntech was one of the first companies to recognize the value that integrated high-performance microelectronics bring to a photovoltaic panel. We are proud of our collaboration with Suntech to develop a next-generation product that will embed SolarMagic technology inside the junction box and ultimately boost the performance of solar arrays," says Michael Polacek, a senior vice president with National Semiconductor.

The SolarMagic power optimizer chipset will be on display in National Semiconductor's booth at the Solar Power International conference taking place Oct. 12 to 14 in Los Angeles. The chipset enables each solar module to produce the maximum energy regardless of whether other panels in the array are under-performing due to environmental mismatch. This technology enhances the energy harvest of each individual PV panel through a combination of advanced algorithms and analog power management circuit techniques. In tests involving shading and mismatch, Suntech modules with SolarMagic power optimizer technology were shown to recoup an average of 50% of lost energy, and in some cases captured as much as 75% of otherwise lost energy compared to standard panel performance.

Suntech recently used SolarMagic power optimizers with its panels on the eco-friendly Suntech Guosheng, a solar energy-powered water vessel ferrying passengers at the Shanghai World Expo.

For more information, contact National Semiconductor Corp., 3689 Kifer Road, Santa Clara, CA 95051. Phone: (800) 272-9959.

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