Power Optimizers to Increase Output of Solar Panels
The newest players in the solar energy race are electronic companies who realize that for solar energy arrays to be more efficient they need to modulate their power output. This week three electronic manufacturers -- National Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics and Tigo Energy -- all announced plans to manufacture devices that will optimize the delivery of solar power to grid tie-ins. Tigo received a $10 million investment to produce the Tigo Energy Maximizer. This device will allow solar panels to harvest an additional 20 percent of the collected solar energy by converting direct current into alternating current on each panel. In this way, the full voltage of each panel is converted to power. This type of device will help offset the irregular performance of solar arrays, caused by shade or dropped leaves, by regulating power output across the array and monitoring panel performance.
National Semiconductor announced they will produce the SolarMagic chipset with Green Energy Solar to create junction boxes that adjust voltage to increase the overall flow of energy. STMicroelectronics announced an electronic regulator that can be installed on individual solar panels to equalize their power fluctuations.