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26 April 2017

GaN Systems’ transistors used in SolPad’s FlexGrid solar power inverter

GaN Systems Inc of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – a fabless developer of gallium nitride (GaN)-based power switching semiconductors for power conversion and control applications – says that its transistors are being used by power inverter design engineers to increase power efficiency and to reduce inverter size and weight. In particular, SolPad (which designs sustainable personalized energy systems that integrate solar power conversion with battery storage) is using GaN Systems’ 650V GaN transistors in its FlexGrid inverter.

Using an intelligent design capable of compensating for diverse power environments, the FlexGrid inverter is integrated into two devices, SolPad Home and SolPad Mobile, creating a new range of ‘smart energy’ products.

SolPad Home is a built-in ‘solar micro-storage’ system that can power an entire home or business with electrically optimized power efficiency. SolPad devices have the built-in intelligence to automatically charge from converted solar energy or the local utility grid, depending on changes in sun intensity. When daytime utility rates are high, SolPad switches to battery power, and then switches back to grid power when rates are low.

The FlexGrid inverter is also integrated within SolPad Mobile, in a unibody enclosure that houses solar power generation, energy storage and communication. The device delivers enough power to operate heavy-duty power tools such as leaf blowers and skill saws. SolPad Mobile provides two universal outlets that output grid-quality, pure sine-wave AC. When in direct sunlight, the device’s three fast-charging USB ports provide unlimited power to smartphones. For additional power requirements, multiple SolPad Mobile units can be linked via a standard IEC power outlet. Using PLC and wireless technology, SolPad Mobile communicates, monitors and controls power via a mobile application.

SolPad Mobile’s features are built into a compact, lightweight design. Since neither silicon nor silicon carbide (SiC) solutions would provide the required inverter performance, SolPad selected GaN Systems’ 650V GaN transistors to obtain the desired inverter operating characteristics (by delivering performance five times better than the best silicon or SiC products, and by shrinking the inverter into a much more compact package). GaN transistors also help to provide system stability across a wide range of power levels, as well as aiding inverter integration and facilitating stable device expandability.

“GaN Systems transistors were easy to use and their economics are suitable for consumer products. They were instrumental in reducing the size, weight and number of FlexGrid inverter parts and increasing the inverter’s efficiency,” comments SolPad’s CEO Chris Estes. “GaN transistors allowed SolPad to develop the world’s thinnest, lightest and most efficient portable AC micro-grid solar product. Now, whether customers need 60W or 6000W, SolPad Mobile can be linked easily to safely provide mobile, grid-quality power wherever needed,” he adds.

Tags: GaN Systems Power electronics

Visit: www.gansystems.com

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