IGBT in Solar Inverters
Solar power has a large potential to provide the electricity needs of the world’s burgeoning population. However, in 2008, solar-power supplied less than 0.02% of the total energy supply in the world. In a solar or photovoltaic cell, the incident sunlight is converted into an electrical current using the photoelectric effect within semiconductor. The typical silicon P-N junction produces the current at a DC voltage of about 0.8 volts. Many such junctions must be placed in series and parallel to create a solar panel with sufficient power generation capability for use in homes or power delivery systems. Typical solar panels may produce hundreds of watts of power at a DC voltage of about 300 volts. The DC voltage produced by the solar array must be converted into a desired well regulated AC power by using an IGBT-based inverter. IGBTs deliver low conduction and switching losses resulting in high inverter efficiency. Many companies have developed IGBT products specifically targeted for the solar inverter application. Some examples of IGBT products tailored for solar inverter applications are the Microsemi ‘APTGV30H60T3G’, International Rectifier ‘IRG4PC40UDBF’, Infineon ‘EconoDual IGBT’ etc.