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  • Cypress’ MPPT Increases Efficiency of Solar Panels in Street Lights
Oct 2009
Oct. 2, 2009 — Friends, here's an update on Cypress Semiconductor's Max Peak Power Tracker solution, which improves the efficiency of solar panels in street lights.

Once again, even though all of this may sound elementary to you, do bear in mind that we are talking about India, where a vast majority of the population lives in the rural areas – and such things are a boon to them!

During my conversation with Rakesh Reddy, associate product manager at Cypress, I was able to garner more information on the savings our government could make using solar power when discussing about a fully electronic system called the Max Peak Power Tracker (MPPT) solution launched by Cypress based on its PowerPSoC product.

MPPT CC is a global product for high wattage applications. It has made an entry into the Indian market, as the country needed a cost-effective MPPT solution for bringing down the cost of the low wattage solar applications.

So, what is this MPPT all about? MPPT is a DC-to-DC converter that poses as an optimum load allowing the panel to operate at its peak power state. Since the Max Peak Power Point (MPPP) is dependent on the amount of radiant sunlight and temperature of the panel, the MPPT must constantly adapt to maximize the energy conversion.

Elaborating on the benefits of MPPT, Reddy explained to me that while the sun radiates up to 1000 watts per square meter, a typical panel can convert only 30 percent of irradiant energy to electricity. In most street lights, the energy harvested by day has to be stored in a battery and using conventional charge controllers can lead to further conversion losses. In order to extract all the energy that a solar panel is capable of delivering, a MPPT is required.

By adopting MPPT, 15 percent of additional energy at a temperature of 25 °C can be extracted from a solar panel.

No doubt, many pilot projects have been successful in implementing solar power for lighting in rural areas, but the government and the decision makers are yet to make serious efforts to tap solar energy in a big way.

As the world ushers in a green revolution, let’s hope that efficient and grid-independent street lights will illuminate the roads of tomorrow.

In my next post, I will talk about how photonics helps you achieve peace – as that's something most of us are looking for...aren't we?


Oct. 2, 2009

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