STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) has introduced its latestgeneration high-efficiency cool bypass switches for photovoltaic modules, enabling an even higher percentage of harvested energy to reach end-users and further reducing the cost per Watt of renewable energy. The new devices can save up to 1% of the energy produced and normally lost through conventional bypass diodes; in a 1MWp solar array farm this loss could provide the total annual electricity consumption of two average European households.
The SPV1512 and SPV1520 cool bypass switches are rated for operation up to 12V and 20V respectively. Other voltage options (up to 120V) will be introduced in late 2012 and early 2013 in industry-standard D2PAK and TO-220AC packages.
The SPV1512 is available in an extremely small 5 × 6 × 0.75mm-high VFQFPN package, which enables the bypass circuitry to be laminated on the back of each solar panel.