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Mitsubishi Shows 'World's 1st' SiC-based PV Inverter

2014/08/03 00:39
Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics
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A number of PV inverters using silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) for solar power generation systems were exhibited at PVJapan2014.

PVJapan2014 is a trade show on renewable energy-related technologies and products and took place from July 30 to Aug 1, 2014, in Tokyo.

Mitsubishi Electric
Mitsubishi Electric Corp exhibited a product to be released in January 2015. The company has just announced the release recently.

"As far as we have researched, it will be the world's first SiC-based PV inverter product," the company said.

Mitsubishi Electric showed a PV inverter product equipped with the "Full SiC-IPM (intelligent power module)," all of whose power semiconductor elements are based on SiC. It supports an output of 4.4kW, and its efficiency of conversion from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) is 98.0%.

Thus far, Mitsubishi Electric has been selling a PV inverter product that realizes a conversion efficiency of 97.5% with the "gradation control-type inverter," which was developed by the company and combines three inverters. However, it uses multiple inverters and makes a system complicated to some extent. On the other hand, when only one inverter is used, its conversion efficiency is only 96%, the company said.

The Full SiC-IPM uses only one inverter and have a simple structure but realizes a conversion efficiency of 98.0%. The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the new product is ¥440,000 (approx US$4,280) while that of the PV inverter (conversion efficiency: 96%, compatible with 4.0kW) to be released by the company in November 2014 is ¥340,000.

"The Full SiC-IPM is not particularly expensive," Mitsubishi Electric said.

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