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STMicroelectronics Reclaims Lost Solar Energy with Intelligent Hotspot Prevention

Direct upgrade for bypass diode integrates control and power electronics to boost efficiency

Geneva /

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a world leader in power semiconductors, today announced 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.

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. ST’s BCD6 chip fabrication process provides the key to this advance by integrating highly efficient power components with logic control circuitry.

“The SPV1001 solves an important challenge for the solar industry today,” said Pietro Menniti, General Manager of ST’s Industrial and Power Conversion Division. “High-efficiency solar cells that produce increased output current demand improvements in the supporting power electronics. ST’s expertise in energy conversion, together with the use of advanced technologies in the SPV1001 such as the BCD process, provides a solid foundation upon which customers can move solar-generated energy to the next price-performance level.”

In addition to package options enabling one-for-one replacement of bypass diodes in the solar panel’s junction box, the SPV1001 is available in an ultra-low-profile package that can be laminated directly into the panel. This will simplify electronic design and assembly while also boosting system reliability.

Major features of the SPV1001:

  • BCD6 and EHD5 power MOS processes:
    o Low power dissipation minimizes energy loss when operating
    o Low leakage current minimizes losses in stand-by mode
    o High robustness to surge and lighting currents
    o Integration of power and control functions
  • TO-220 or D2PAK packages, pin- and outline-compatible with existing bypass diodes
  • Optional ultra-low-profile Power MLPD package for in-panel assembly

The SPV1001 is in production now in the industry-standard TO-220 and ultra low-profile MLPD packages. Projected pricing is approximately $3.00 for a minimum order of 1000 units, depending on the package version. Alternative pricing options are available for larger quantities.

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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 2009, the Company’s net revenues were $8.51 billion. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com. 

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