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16 March 2015

Cree's SiC technology reduces solar power inverter size, weight and cost

Cree Inc of Durham, NC, USA, which manufactures silicon carbide (SiC)-based power products, says it has demonstrated that its SiC MOSFET and diode technologies enable what are claimed to be previously unattainable levels of power density in string solar inverter products, yielding ultra-high efficiencies (greater than 99.1% at peak) at one-fifth the average size and weight of existing 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 optimize. However, in recent years size and weight have proven to significantly affect overall system cost, and have subsequently been added to a designer's list of essential design metrics, says Cree.

Using the firm's latest 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 3-5 times the switching frequency that conventional silicon technology can currently achieve, it is reckoned. 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, translating into a unit-cost reduction approaching 15%, the firm claims.

This application is on display in Cree's booth #1417 at the 30th IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC 2015) in Charlotte, NC, USA (16–18 March).

Tags: Cree SiC power modules SiC MOSFET

Visit: www.apec-conf.org

Visit: www.cree.com/power

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