Solar power initiatives

01 December 2006

Solar power is proving to be a bright spot for power conversion semiconductor manufacturers. In 2004, solar power accounted for a measley 0.024 per cent of the total electricity produced around the world. By 2010, it is expected to supply 0.25 per cent of the world’s electricity. Although in the scheme of things, it is still a small player among electricity suppliers, this is still a 10 fold increase and not many industry areas can look forward to that amount of growth in a four-year period.

The appeal of clean energy and solar cells with long product life cycles and the fact that the earth receives more energy from the sun than the world uses in a year, means that the supplies of raw energy are unlimited.

STMicroelectronics (www.st.com) has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop photovoltaic inverter and power supply applications in partnership with Delta Electronics and DelSolar of Taiwan. Carmelo Papa, corporate vice president and general manager, ST Microelectronics, Power Analogue group, believes that emerging photovoltaic markets, ‘such as China, India and South Korea will become substantial’ and drive the acceptance of solar energy and encourage it to become a readily-available commodity.

The development agreement between Delta (www.delta.com.tw), which supplies switching power supplies, its majority-owned subsidiary, DelSolar which develops and manufactures solar cells and ST’s power conversion semiconductors offerings will span raw silicon to inverters and power supplies. The aim is to develop more efficient technologies and products to accelerate the wider use of solar energy.


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