+44 (0)24 7671 8970
More publications     •     Advertise with us     •     Contact us
News Article

STMicroelectronics unveils SiC modules for solar applications

The firm's expanding portfolio of silicon carbide power devices increases energy yield for the solar generation
STMicroelectronics is revealing innovations in SiC devices at Solar Power International (SPI) 2012.

The firm's latest products enable systems producers to build ultra-efficient electronics for converting raw solar energy into grid-quality power.

The firm is showcasing its 1200V SiC diodes, which replace ordinary silicon diodes, in the DC-DC boost converter and DC-AC inverter. They convert the photovoltaic module's low-voltage output into high-quality AC power at the correct line voltage.

As a base material for diodes targeting solar-power conversion applications, SiC is superior to ordinary silicon bipolar technology. SiC diodes can switch rapidly between conducting and non-conducting states without suffering the reverse recovery current that occurs when switching bipolar diodes.

Eliminating this unwanted effect saves up to 70 percent of energy normally lost, maintains high efficiency over a wide temperature range, and enhances freedom for designers to optimise the system operating frequency.

ST's trials using 1200V silicon carbide diodes have shown a 2 percent increase in overall inverter yield, even when operating at high loads and high frequencies. Over the intended lifetime of inverters used in installations such as residential photovoltaic systems and high-power solar farms, this improvement can effectively save many Megawatt-hours of valuable energy.

At SPI 2012, ST will also reveal progress in its SiC MOSFET program. These will be among the world's first commercial SiC MOSFETs; an advanced class of devices predicted to offer an alternative to high-voltage silicon IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) in solar inverters, delivering a number of advantages. In addition to saving at least 50 percent of IGBT energy losses, SiC MOSFETs require no special drive circuitry and can operate at higher frequencies. This enables designers to miniaturise other components in the power supply thereby reducing cost and size as well as enhancing energy efficiency.

Further applications for SiC MOSFETs and diodes include bulk power supplies used in energy-hungry computer rooms and data centres, and motor-drive electronics in electric vehicles.

The SPI 2012 solar energy exhibition and conference, is taking place at the Orange County Convention Centre, Orlando, Florida, between September 10th and 13th, 2012.

Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Compound Semiconductor Magazine, the Compound Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in: