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Solar inverters: Losses are cut in half
Date:5/26/2011

This release is available in German.

It was a matter of minutes, Dr. Heribert Schmidt remembers the day in spring of 2002. To find opportunities for improvement, he had often pondered about the switching plan of an inverter while in his office at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany. A sudden flash of inspiration and a solution that was ingeniously simple came to his mind. He immediately went to get an inverter from the laboratory, laid a few new strips and installed two additional semiconductor switches. Then it required only a little bit of work on the controls - and we already had the proof! This is how the electrical engineer, who holds a doctorate in electrical engineering, described the revolutionary step in brief: the losses could be halved and the degree of effectiveness could be increased from 96 to 98 percent.

Key component for electricity feed

After the solar generator, the inverter is the second key component of a grid-linked photovoltaics system. Solar modules generate direct current. If the current is to be fed into the public grid, then it must be converted into grid-compatible alternating current. The inverter handles this task. Single-phase feed inverters consist of three essential parts: the buffer capacitor at the input which provides intermediate storage for the direct current from the solar generator; the inverter bridge with four semiconductor switches that chop up the direct current by rapidly switching on and off and as a third component, the inductor at the output that converts the alternating current into a perfect sinus current.

In a short time from the idea to the product

Heribert Schmidt knew: A large portion of the losses are caused by the return of current between the output inductor and the input capacitor. The question therefore was how to pr
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Contact: Dr. Heribert Schmidt
heribert.schmidt@ise.fraunhofer.de
49-761-458-85226
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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