The SolarMagic module is controlled to always operate at MPP in each solar cell module. However, I can't reveal details of the control technology at the moment. I suppose I can tell them in the first quarter (January to March) of 2009, in which SolarMagic's volume production and shipments are slated to start.

The external dimensions are 10 x 12cm

Q: How far can SolarMagic increase the amount of power generation?

Waters: We are currently conducting a joint field test with REgrid Power Inc, a solar power system constructor of the US. Through the test, we have obtained the result that SolarMagic can boost power generation by 45% at maximum, compared with existing systems only equipped with diode-based measures.

Q: How big is the SolarMagic module? And how much are you planning to price it at?

Waters: It measures about 10 x 12cm. It is small enough for any solar power systems to mount it without problems, I suppose. I can't specify the price at this point. I can only say that we are planning to set the price so the employment of the SolarMagic module can bring about a reduction in power generation costs (the cost to generate 1kWh) in solar power systems.

Q: Solar power systems are highly likely to be used for as long as 20 to 30 years. Is it possible to ensure the reliability of a module containing semiconductor chips throughout such a long period of time?

Waters: It's a big challenge for sure. However, we have built up many experiences in semiconductor chip development targeting industrial electronic device applications. I believe we can secure its reliability by making the most of these experiences. As for the conclusion, however, you'll have to wait until the first quarter of 2009, when we are planning to start volume production and shipments of SolarMagic?

Riding on waves of Giga Trends

Q: Why has National Semiconductor entered the market for analog ICs targeting solar power systems?

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