National Semiconductor acquires Act Solar, adding power optimization IP

National Semiconductor Corp. is buying Act Solar Inc. a privately held solar energy company that provides power optimization solutions for commercial and utility-scale solar installations. National is looking to expand its portfolio of power optimization technologies and add diagnostics and panel monitoring capabilities for solar arrays.

National Semiconductor Corp. is buying Act Solar Inc. a privately held solar energy company that provides power optimization solutions for commercial and utility-scale solar installations. National is looking to expand its portfolio of power optimization technologies and add diagnostics and panel monitoring capabilities for solar arrays.

“National Semiconductor is applying its PowerWise capabilities to drive new energy generation and efficiency initiatives in the solar panel marketplace,” said Mike Polacek, senior VP of National’s Key Market Segments, adding that Act Solar’s technologies will help National improve the performance and efficiency of solar systems, while augmenting monitoring capabilities.

National’s SolarMagicT is designed to enhance the efficiency and output of solar arrays when the panels are affected by mismatch issues including shade, debris, different panel types, and panel aging.  Panel mismatch can disproportionately impact the output of a solar installation. An entire solar array’s energy output can be reduced by half if just 10% of one solar panel is shaded by a tree, chimney, or rooftop vent.  Recent internal testing showed that National’s SolarMagic power optimizers recovered 57% of power lost due to shade.

Act Solar will join the SolarMagic group at National, with SolarMagic power optimizers rolling out in Spring 2009. Its products improve array performance by 6 to 11%, according to National, using patent-pending technology that complements central inverters by dynamically recirculating small amounts of energy as needed. The balance of the array is maintained, assuring maximum power output. The technology uses a proprietary technique for power tracking, which injects energy into the string as opposed to traditional DC/DC voltage converting approaches. Early field tests and historical modeling have shown that this solution can cumulatively deliver 40 to 80% more power over the operating life of a solar panel installation.

National Semiconductor creates energy-efficient analog and mixed-signal semiconductors. www.national.com. Act Solar is a power management technology company that provides optimization solutions for solar installations. www.actsolar.com.

Previous articleSPP Completes 2-MW of Installations in San Diego
Next articleShade happens: installation considerations with solar panels

No posts to display