APEC Educational Seminar


Extensive world-wide research effort aims at reducing the cost of PhotoVoltaic (PV) energy generation to reach grid parity in the near future. As a result, the penetration level of PV systems is increasing exponentially, partly thanks to generous government incentives. This growth presents tremendous opportunities for all companies in the semiconductor supply chain, ranging from discrete power devices to mixed-signal control ICs. In this seminar, three speakers from solar industry, academia and semiconductor industry focus on power-electronic circuits, controllers and devices used to maximize the harvested energy and interface PV systems to the electrical grid.

The first part covers PV economics, cell technologies, characteristics and trends. The second part first reviews Switched-Mode Power Supply (SMPS) control techniques and losses, before discussing state-of-the-art power electronics for off-line and grid-tied systems. The trend towards distributed power management involves adding module-level power converters to increase system performance. Performing Maximum Power-Point Tracking (MPPT) on a per-module basis substantially improves the energy yield under time-varying shading conditions, while raising important reliability and cost challenges. Detailed practical examples of competing technologies, including module-level DC/AC and DC/DC converters, and the associated SMPS technology will be discussed. The intensive seminar suits a multi-disciplinary audience interested in renewable energy.