News Column

Patent Application Titled "Solar Module Having a Back Plane Integrated Inverter" Published Online

June 27, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Energy Weekly News -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor POTHARAJU, Suryanarayana (San Jose, CA), filed on November 30, 2012, was made available online on June 12, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is SunEdison Microinverter Products LLC.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure generally relates to integrated circuits. More particularly, the present disclosure provides a method and system for an inverter device configured for a solar module. Merely by way of example, the inverter device can be coupled to a backplane of a solar module, including a plurality of solar cells. Of course, there can be other variations, modifications, and alternatives.

"Since the discovery of the photoelectric effect, solar inverters have been designed to convert direct current (DC) electricity produced by solar cells or panels into alternating current (AC). The circuits termed inverters originally refer to the process of constantly inverting the incoming signal from a DC source have been performing the DC to AC conversion from watts to megawatts. Since the resurgence of the PV solar panel technologies in the early 2000's, inverters have become the point of focus as they defined the cost, performance and reliability of solar installations. Clubbed with other components as part of the Balance-of-System (BOS) components the inverter plays a significant role in defining the lifetime of the installation.

"As an example, the US Department of Energy has launched the SunShot.sup.Tht initiative to achieve the goal of an installed cost of $1/watt (DC) for solar systems for residential, commercial and utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar installations. With panel costs rapidly falling, the inverter, BOS costs and installation costs have been the focus for the PV industry. In addition the lower system efficiencies (Solar-panel to grid/end point of load), hovering around 80%, have been an area of concern as they contribute to significant capital expenditure and O&M costs. Efficient power conversion topologies that would lower the cost, improve system efficiency and performance have been sought to achieve the goal of grid parity for Leveraged cost of electricity (LCOE) for PV Solar power."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present disclosure generally relates to integrated circuits. More particularly, the present disclosure provides a method and system for an inverter device configured for a solar module. Merely by way of example, the inverter device can be coupled to a backplane of a solar module, including a plurality of solar cells. Of course, there can be other variations, modifications, and alternatives.

"In a specific embodiment, the present invention provides a solar module device with a back plane integrated inverter device. The device includes a substrate member comprising a front side and a back side. The device has a plurality of solar cells, which comprising a first group of solar cells connected in a first serial configuration and a second group of solar cells connected in a second serial configuration. The device has a tab wire configuration formed overlying the front side of the substrate member. The tab wire comprises a first interconnect coupled to the first set of solar cells in the first serial configuration and a second interconnection coupled to the second set of solar cells in the second serial configuration. The device has an inverter device coupled to a back side of the substrate member. The inverter device comprises a first set of connections coupled to the first interconnection and a second set of connections coupled to the second set of connections.

"In other embodiments, device has variations. For example, the substrate is made of glass, epoxy resin, or other electrically insulating material, or combinations thereof. The tab wire comprises a thickness of aluminum material or other conductive material. The tab wire is attached to the thickness of material using a glue material, which is a resin material or other attachment material. The thickness of material can also be laminated, epoxied, or fused onto the substrate. In an example, each set of the plurality of solar cells comprises a DC supply configured together in a serial configuration coupled directly to a slave circuit of the inverter device. The inverter device generates an auxiliary power from a key cell group, necessarily generating power from the panel to operate in a grid tied mode or a stand-alone mode. The substrate member is a backplane consisting of the tab wire configured routed from each of the solar cell groups connected in serial configuration optimized based on a solar cell characteristic from one or more different solar cell types. The backplane comprises a plurality of DC inputs derived from the plurality of cell groups. Each of the cell groups is directly coupled to a slave circuit through a plug-in mechanism whereby the backplane is substantially free from a bypass diode and a junction box. The device further comprises an output coupled to the inverter device. The output is a grid compatible sine-wave AC or an AC signal synchronized to a reference voltage signal. The inverter device comprises an output, which is coupled to a plurality of other inverter devices in a daisy chain configuration. The output being connected to grid source to pump power into a grid circuit. In other examples, The plurality of inverter devices are configured in the daisy chain such that one of the inverter devices generates a reference voltage signal, the other inverter devices being synchronized to the reference signal operating in a local circuit in absence of a grid source. In an example, the local circuit is either micro-grid or off-grid. In an example, each group of solar cells comprises a slave inverter circuit such that output power is optimized from the group of the solar cells configured in a serial manner and directly coupled to the slave inverter circuit of the inverter device. Each of the slave inverter circuits provides a galvanic isolation between a DC source derived from each group of the solar cells and a combined AC supply, which is either from a grid source or a reference AC signal generated by another device. Each of slave inverter circuits is suspended with a common signal and prevented from performing an DC to AC inversion to enhance safety when connected to the grid source (Anti-islanding). The inverter device comprises a master controller module couple to a slave inverter device; wherein the backside of the substrate is substantially free from a junction box or power aggregator. The first group of solar cells comprising a first DC slave circuit and the second group of solar cells comprising a second DC slave circuit. Further details of the present device can be found throughout the present specification and more particularly below.

"Many benefits are achieved by ways of present invention. For example, the present invention uses an integrated solar inverter device on a back plane coupled to a solar module. The present solar module is efficient and less costly than conventional solar modules with external inverters connected through a junction box. Additionally, the inverter device comprises a slave circuit and master circuit. Depending on the embodiment, one or more of the benefits can be achieved. These and other benefits will be described in more detailed throughout the present specification and particularly below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a simplified top view diagram of a solar module comprising a plurality of cells and associated inverters according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 2 is a simplified top view diagram of a module backplane coupled to a slave inverter according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

"FIG. 3 is a simplified diagram of a master chip module according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 4 is a simplified diagram of a slave chip module according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 5 is a more detailed of the slave circuit of FIG. 4, including filter, phase shifter, RERC, and boost circuit (including phase shifter and RERC) according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIGS. 6, 7, and 8 are examples of inverter circuits according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 9 is a waveform derived from a slave circuit according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 10 is an overall diagram of a master circuit coupled to a plurality of slave circuits according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 11 illustrates each of the voltage and current wave forms from each of the slave circuits and an aggregation of each of the voltage and current wave forms according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 12 illustrates solar cell elements, including a glass member, a plurality of cells, a backplane, and an inverter according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate waveforms with switching voltages across rectifier bridge diodes with and without the RERC circuitry according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

"FIG. 15 illustrates a voltage/current plotted against time for the circuitry of FIGS. 13 and 14.

"FIG. 16 illustrates waveforms of a wave shaper circuit according to an embodiment of the present disclosure."

For more information, see this patent application: POTHARAJU, Suryanarayana. Solar Module Having a Back Plane Integrated Inverter. Filed November 30, 2012 and posted June 12, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4169&p=84&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140605.PD.&OS=PD/20140605&RS=PD/20140605

Keywords for this news article include: Energy, Solar Cell, SunEdison Microinverter Products LLC.

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Source: Energy Weekly News


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