SiC devices enable tiny solar inverters with 99% efficiency

17th March 2015
Barney Scott

Cree has demonstrated that its SiC MOSFET and diode technologies enable previously unattainable levels of power density in string solar inverter products, yielding efficiencies greater than 99.1% at peak, at 20% of the average size and weight of today’s silicon-based inverter units.

Historically, efficiency, reliability, and unit cost have been the three primary metrics that designers of string solar inverters have sought to optimise. In recent years, however, size and weight have proven to significantly affect overall system cost, and have subsequently been added to designer’s list of essential design metrics.

Using the latest Cree power MOSFETs and diodes, Cree’s systems engineering team designed a proof-of-concept 50kW string solar inverter that exhibits a 50% reduction in power loss and operates at three to five times the switching frequency that conventional silicon technology can currently achieve. The combination of these two factors drastically reduces both the size and weight of the inverter’s cooling system, as well as its filtering components, which translates into a unit-cost reduction approaching 15%.

This application will be on display at the Cree booth (#1417) at APEC, 16th to 18th March.

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