NXP low-power IC targets solar PV apps

nxplogoEindhoven, Netherlands — NXP Semiconductors N.V. is offering a low-power IC aimed at maximum power point tracking (MPPT) applications using solar photovoltaic (PV) cells or fuel cells. The MPT612 can deliver up to 98-percent efficient power extraction in applications such as solar battery charge controllers, distributed MPPT and micro-inverters.

The MPT612 can also be easily configured for a variety of DC solar charge controller applications using MPPT, such as battery chargers for portable devices and home appliances; railway and traffic signals; and street, garden and driveway lighting. The MPT612 is also suitable for non-storage-based electric motors for water pumps and fans.

“Compared to traditional PWM controllers, MPPT controllers can extract up to 30-percent more power from a solar PV panel,” said Jan Willem Vogel, senior director, industrial applications marketing, NXP Semiconductors, in a statement.

The MPT612 solution is based on a low-power, 32-bit ARM7TDMI-S processor, which supports multiple serial interfaces including I2C, UART, SPI and SSP. The device features hardware functions needed in PV applications, including voltage and current measurement, as well as panel parameter configuration, and is able to send an output signal to control external switching.

To further simplify development and maximize system efficiency, the MPT612 is available with object files including NXP’s patent-pending MPPT algorithm, an application-specific software library, and easy-to-use application programming interfaces (APIs).

The API for system configuration can set the topology for buck or buck-boost, enabling optimal battery charging even in tropical regions during the summer when PV MPP voltage can be lower than battery voltage. The MPT612 offers up to 15 KB of flash memory for application software, as well as three levels of flash Code Read Protection (CRP) to safeguard user-developed code.

The MPT612 is supported by development tools from companies such as Flashmagic, IAR, and Keil. NXP will also offer a development tool kit.

Availability: The MPT612 is now available from major distributors.