Geneva, Switzerland: The small dimensions of ST’s latest high-efficiency cool bypass switches will allow for their integration directly into photovoltaic modules. These devices use new control techniques that minimise energy losses in all operating modes. Such techniques ensure the integrated power switch has ultra-low leakage current when turned off (10µA) and very low voltage drop (100mV) when turned on.
Intelligent control techniques compensate for the variable effects of hotspots and shadows on the solar panel surface, saving up to 1% of the energy produced (and usually lost) through conventional bypass diodes. Thanks to the reduced power losses, they also lower typical operating temperature, leading to increased reliability and longer lifetime. Solar installations can achieve a lifespan of 25 years using the device.
The SPV1512 and SPV1520 cool bypass switches are rated for operation up to 12V and 20V, respectively. The SPV1512 comes in a small 5 by 6 by 0.75mm VFQFPN package. As a result, the bypass circuitry can be laminated on the back of each solar panel. This simplifies design and installation by eliminating large numbers of junction boxes and interconnects, and could drop the cost of each panel by around 5%, says ST.