Friday, July 4, 2008

National Semicon enters the Photovoltaic Market

Seems to me that the era of photovoltaic energy is coming real quick. IBM entered it, so did Intel. Now, it's National Semi's turn to enter the foray. The days of cheap electricity from the sun will be near. Seeing the economy of scale at work delights me. Solar technology is a relatively old one. But, no one seems to be interested in it, save for some true environmentalists and those remote areas where bringing in fossil fuels is impractical. A decade ago, solar technology is very expensive, about $5/watt, compared to $0.22/watt for commercial grid. It will be another 4 to 5 years before we reach that cost level. Great work, NatSemi! I'll be waiting for the next development:

Read on: (From EETIMES Asia)

National Semiconductor Corp. has entered the photovoltaic market with new technology designed to increase the overall energy output of solar electric power generating systems. National's SolarMagic technology extracts the maximum power efficiency of each photovoltaic panel, even when some panels in the array are compromised by shading, debris or inherent panel-to-panel mismatch.

"National's entry into the photovoltaic market is a natural extension of our focus on energy-efficient systems," said Brian Halla, National's chairman and CEO. "Our technologists solved this real-world problem and are enabling consumers to produce more energy under adverse conditions and reduce the payback time of their investment with an environmentally friendly source of power."

SolarMagic technology is a per-panel electronics solution that maximizes power output of multipanel installations. It is compatible with today's solar architectures regardless of the underlying solar cell technology.

National has entered field trials with its SolarMagic technology. REgrid Power Inc., one of the largest solar installers in California, has begun system testing of National's SolarMagic technology.

"We are impressed with National's SolarMagic technology in our field trials and have seen a significant performance improvement in our solar installation," said Tom McCalmont, president and CEO of REgrid Power and founder and executive chairman of SolarTech, a Silicon Valley consortium. "We have observed energy output improvements of up to 44 percent during shaded conditions and 12 percent overall versus the same system running without SolarMagic technology."

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