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Cree SiC Technology shrinks Inverter Size, Weight, and Cost

SiC MOSFETs and diodes achieve higher efficiency and up to 15 percent lower cost to silicon

Cree, a manufacturer of SiC power products, has demonstrated that its best-in-class SiC MOSFET and diode technologies enable previously unattainable levels of power density in string solar inverter products, yielding peak efficiencies greater than 99.1 percent at one-fifth the average size and weight of today's silicon-based inverter units.

Historically, efficiency, reliability, and unit cost have been the three primary metrics that designers of string solar inverters have sought to optimise. In recent years, however, size and weight have proven to significantly affect overall system cost, and have subsequently been added to designer's list of essential design metrics.

Using the latest Cree power MOSFETs and diodes, Cree's systems engineering team designed a proof-of-concept 50kW string solar inverter that exhibits a  50 percent reduction in power loss and operates at three to five times the switching frequency that conventional silicon technology can currently achieve. 

The combination of these two factors significantly reduces both the size and weight of the inverter's cooling system, as well as its filtering components, which translates into a unit-cost reduction approaching 15 percent.

 This application will be on display at the Cree booth at this year's Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), which will take place in Charlotte, NC, March 16-18, 2015.

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