National Semi’s solar partnerships deliver ‘smart’ panels

Munich, Germany — National Semiconductor has announced several partnerships at Intersolar Europe, in Munich, Germany, June 9-11, that leverage the company’s SolarMagic suite of power management products. These include collaborations with Shoals Technologies Group, Huber+Suhner and QC Solar.

National Semiconductor and Shoals Technologies have developed the first in a series of new “smart” Shoals products that combine its junction boxes with National’s SolarMagic power optimization technology.

National’s SolarMagic products are intelligent power electronics that maximize energy output capture at either the panel or string level. Coupling this technology with Shoals’ offerings, which include junction boxes, combiner boxes, “plug-and-play” harness solutions, photovoltaic monitoring systems and racking, provides system integrators a complete smart panel solution that cost-effectively optimizes solar energy system performance.

National also introduced the SolarMagic SM3320, an analog-intensive power management chipset that the company says improves power output, reliability and cost-effectiveness of solar systems.

Shoals expects that global photovoltaic installations of its solar products will exceed one gigawatt peak (GWp) in 2010.

Huber+Suhner also announced that its next-generation of solar junction boxes will incorporate National Semiconductor’s SolarMagic technology.

“RADOX ‘smart’ junction boxes enable us to offer panel manufacturers an efficient, optimized and therefore value-enhancing solution for their customers,” said Patrick Riederer, chief operating officer, Huber+Suhner Low Frequency Division, in a statement. “We believe that bringing the ‘smarts’ to solar modules is where the industry is going, and we are excited to lead the market in this direction.”

QC Solar has signed a sales agreement to integrate National’s SolarMagic technology into the company’s SmartTrack product line, including intelligent junction boxes. The agreement comes one year after the two companies formed a strategic partnership and marks the successful completion of extensive tests of National’s technology in QC Solar’s products.

As part of the initial agreement between National and QC Solar, QC Solar developed an intelligent junction box that applied National’s distributed maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technology with QC Solar’s high-performance solar electronics to dramatically increase energy harvest.

QC Solar will manufacture and market two types of junction boxes in its SmartTrack line. One will feature integrated MPPT IC and diode pass protection and the other will offer independent MPPT IC.

National will demonstrate all of the SolarMagic smart-panel junction boxes at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany, June 9-11, 2010, in Hall B5, Booth #429.