STMicroelectronics (ST) has developed a new version of its bypass switches family for photovoltaic modules.
With their small dimensions, ST's bypass devices can be integrated directly in the photovoltaic module, reducing both installation complexity and cost for consumers, the company says. They combine efficient power switching and intelligent control in a single chip to compensate for the variable effects of hot spots and shadows on the solar panel surface.
The new devices can save up to 1% of the energy produced and normally lost through conventional bypass diodes. The SPV1512 and SPV1520 cool bypass switches are rated for operation up to 12 V and 20 V, respectively.
Other voltage options (up to 120 V) will be introduced in late 2012 and early 2013 in industry-standard D2PAK and TO-220AC packages.