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National Semiconductor has introduced the in-panel Solarmagic chipset, which enables junction box and module manufacturers to ensure high efficiency and return on investment for solar system owners.

By coupling more energy production with a lower balance of systems cost, the SM3320 provides solar system owners a high-performance solution at low cost per kilowatt-hour, the company said.

National Semiconductor’s SM3320 is the first analogue-intensive power management chipset in a new category of in-panel electronics that improves output, reliability and cost-effectiveness of solar systems.

The company said Solarmagic provides a solution to long-standing problems with solar arrays and their design.

Real-world problems lead to mismatch in solar systems, reducing the power output of an array.

Solarmagic can recoup up to 71 per cent of power lost to mismatch – regardless of cell technology – giving installation owners more predictable power output and increased return on investment.

Launched into the market in May 2009, National Semiconductor’s original Solarmagic power optimiser was a standalone system, which can be attached to existing or new solar installations.

Now, the company is also embedding Solarmagic power optimiser benefits as a chipset directly into junction boxes, which already reside on all solar panels.

Packaged as a complete board-level system or available as a chipset, National Semiconductor’s SM3320 incorporates 10 proprietary analogue and mixed-signal integrated circuits, providing highly reliable digital control combined with analogue sensing and communication.

Proprietary algorithms apply localised maximum power point tracking (MPPT), extracting the maximum energy available by translating the input voltage and current to the best output voltage and current pair to maximise energy flow.

The SM3320 is cognitive; the system senses input voltage and current throughout the array and adjusts to achieve optimum string levels.

It includes a highly integrated, 99.5 per cent efficient, 350W tri-mode power converter.

To achieve maximum energy harvest, the SM3320 can either boost, pass-through or lower the voltage of each panel.

Options include fire safety panel shut-off and a set of safety mechanisms.

The SM3320 is released to market with UL and CE component-level certification and is in volume production.

The board-level system, measuring 5 x 3.5 x 0.5in (12.7 x 8.9 x 1.2cm) and weighing approximately 6.4oz (180g) easily fits into a solar panel junction box.

It is currently being integrated into junction box and module-level partners with their product releases starting at Intersolar Europe and continuing through the rest of the year.

National Semiconductor

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