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Power electronics, critical components in photovoltaic (PV) systems and the larger electric grid, are used to convert electricity from one form to another and deliver it from generation to end consumption. The objective of the Power Electronics activity area is to develop solutions that leverage transformative power electronics technologies—including wide band gap semiconductors, advanced magnetics, thin film capacitors, and advanced system design and packaging—to enhance solar power conversion and energy flow in the transmission and distribution grids and on customer premises.
One of the most exciting and challenging applications of power electronics is the goal of enabling interconnection and integration of hundreds of gigawatts of solar generation into the electric power system. The key design considerations in power electronics are: features and functionalities, performance, reliability, and cost. While challenges exist in each design space, the bigger challenge is to optimize the trade-offs for design parameters so that power electronic systems meet all objectives simultaneously. In order to accomplish this, the solar office supports cost reductions and efficiency improvements through: innovative circuit design, development of advanced components and optimal control; development of power electronics technologies to improve energy yield while reducing balance of system (BOS) hardware costs, process costs and installation time; development and field demonstration of smart inverter functionalities; and development of accelerated life testing methods and physics of failure models to predict faults and improve reliability.
|Technical Metrics for Power Electronics and Related Aspects|
- Advanced Energy: Transforming PV Installations toward Dispatchable, Schedulable Energy Solutions
- Alencon, LLC: Extreme Cost Reductions with Multi-Megawatt Centralized Inverter Systems
- Electric Power Research Institute: Smart Grid Ready PV Inverters with Utility Communication
- GE Global Research: Module Embedded Microinverter Smart Grid Ready Residential Solar Electric System
- Hawaiian Electric Company: Distributed Resource Energy Analysis and Management System (DREAMS)
- Sandia National Laboratories: PV System Reliability
- SolarBridge Technologies: Integrated Microinverters for Enabling True ACPV Modules
- University of Texas: Diversity in Solar Talent through Innovative Curriculum and Training: An Integrated Research & Education Approach towards creating Diversity and Advancing Utility-scale Solar Technology
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: High‐Penetration PV with Advanced Power Conditioning Systems