According to market analysis conducted by IHS, by the end of this year the world’s total installed photovoltaic capacity with be over 310GWatts - that is 8 times what it was at the start of the decade. GlobalData predicts by 2025 this capacity will have more than doubled again, reaching 652GWatts.
With demand for solar technology continuing to grow, and the conversion efficiencies of photovoltaics still relatively low (though gradually increasing), there is an ongoing need to minimise the power losses of the supporting electronics (and thereby make full use of the converted energy). Simultaneously there are increasing pressures to reduce inverter form factors and also secure greater system reliability (as once installed this photovoltaic equipment should operate for 15 to 20 years).
Photovoltaic inverters convert the DC current produced by photovoltaic arrays into an AC current with the appropriate line voltage and frequency that it can subsequently be fed into the grid (or alternatively used to power an off-grid network). Because they are straightforward to drive, power MOSFETs will normally form the basis of inverter switching functionality in solar energy installations. There are a series of important attributes that need to be considered when specifying MOSFET devices for this kind of application.