Promising to recover lost power due to solar-panel variables, the SPV1020 dc/dc boost converter is reportedly the industry’s first to combine power-optimization and power-conversion functions for solar generators. The chip allows maximum power-point tracking (MPPT) to be applied individually for each panel. MPPT automatically adjusts a solar generator’s output circuitry to compensate for power fluctuations resulting from varying solar intensity, shadowing, temperature change, panel mismatch, or ageing. The SPV1020 enables distributed MPPT (DMPPT), which compensates each panel individually. Other features of the chip include integrated dc/dc converter bypass and cut-off diodes, compatibility with popular dc/ac inverters, independent output-voltage adjustment per panel, and a narrow output voltage range. Available around November in a 36-pin PowerSSO (PSSO-36) package, projected price for the SPV1020 is $5 each/1,000. STMICROELECTRONICS, Lexington, MA. (888) 787-3550.