Semiconductor opportunities for PhotoVoltaic (PV) systems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Although the primary component in any PV system is the PV cell itself, electronic components and circuits are also needed to ensure proper operation of the PV system. These components are often referred to as Balance-of-System (BoS) components and are based on a range of semiconductor technologies. After presenting the main PV cell technologies and characteristics as well as the construction of PV modules, this tutorial gives an overview of which electronic components are needed in a PV system and what their main characteristics are. These components range from bypass diodes placed in junction boxes at the backside of PV modules to power converters. In state-of-the-art systems, a single inverter (DC/AC) is used to convert the DC output power of the PV system to AC power fed to the grid. The tutorial will illustrate how practical issues such as shading and/or contamination of modules will lead to a reduction in output power in this case. Several solution routes to increase output power under these conditions will be compared, which all revolve around adding local DC/DC or DC/AC converters to the PV modules, implementing distributed power-management schemes. Moreover, customer demands for improved monitoring of the behavior of individual components in the PV system and safety concerns will be illustrated, which lead to additional electronic systems as well. This implies that the amount of electronic circuits and components in PV systems is expected to grow in the future, leading to many opportunities for semiconductors in PV systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 23rd IEEE Int. Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices and IC's (ISPSD'11), 22-26 May 2011, San Diego, USA
Place of PublicationPiscataway
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event23rd International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices and ICs (ISPSD '11), May 22-26, 2011, San Diego, CA, USA - Paradise Point Resort, San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 22 May 201126 May 2011


Conference23rd International Symposium on Power Semiconductor Devices and ICs (ISPSD '11), May 22-26, 2011, San Diego, CA, USA
Abbreviated titleISPSD '11
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


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