SM3320 SolarMagic Chipset
Jun 2010National SemiconductorRequest Info
SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 1, 2010 — National Semiconductor Corp. has introduced to the solar industry the in-panel SolarMagic chip set, marking the advent of a new category of solar systems: “smart panels.”
In-panel electronics enable module and junction box manufacturers to integrate power optimizer technology. Solar panels are prone to underperformance due to conditions such as age, mismatch and shade, but smart panels incorporate advanced electronics to harvest the maximum energy from a solar system.
The SM3320 SolarMagic smart panel chip set couples more energy production with a lower balance of systems cost to provide solar system owners with a high-performance solution at a low cost per kilowatt-hour. The analog-intensive power management chip set is a new category of in-panel electronics that improves the power output, reliability and cost-effectiveness of solar systems.
Real-world problems lead to mismatch in solar systems, reducing the power output of an array. SolarMagic can recoup up to 71 percent of power lost to mismatch – regardless of cell technology – giving installation owners more predictable power output and increased return on investment.
The company’s SolarMagic power optimizer previously was a stand-alone system that could be attached to existing or new solar installations. Now, it is being embedded directly into junction boxes that already reside on all solar panels.
Packaged as a complete board-level system or available as a chip set, the SM3320 incorporates 10 proprietary analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits, providing reliable digital control combined with analog sensing and communication. Proprietary algorithms apply localized maximum power point tracking, extracting the maximum energy available by translating the input voltage and current to the best output voltage and current pair to maximize energy flow.
The system is cognitive. It senses input voltage and current throughout the array and adjusts to achieve optimum string levels. It includes a 99.5% efficient 350-W tri-mode power converter. To achieve maximum energy harvest, the system can boost, pass through or lower the voltage of each panel.
Options include fire safety panel shut-off and a set of sophisticated safety mechanisms. All components are UL- and CE-certified. The board-level system, measuring 127 × 88.9 × 12.7 mm and weighing ~170 g, easily fits into a solar panel junction box.