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New solar technology to reduce system costs, boost energy output

eiqlogoSan Jose, Calif. — eIQ Energy Inc. claims its new solar technology will lower the installed cost of solar power systems and enable them to harvest 5 to 30 percent more energy than conventional systems. It will also eliminate the design and installation constraints inherent in conventional string architectures, said the company.

eIQ Energy’s Parallux system is built around the vBoost dc-to-dc converter module that uses advanced DC power management technology for easy connection of solar panels in parallel rather than in series, allowing the connection of an unprecedented number of panels on a single cable, according to the company.

In the case of thin-film photovoltaic panels, the Parallel Solar architecture enables the connection of more than 100 solar panels on each cable run, which the company touts as a twenty-fold improvement over conventional string architecture. Upshot: A significant installed-cost savings by eliminating costly wiring.

The Parallel Solar technology is also said to mitigate the effects of panel mismatch due to shading, soiling, and manufacturing variations, which can easily disrupt the performance of an entire string array.

How it works: vBoost allows any solar panel to be connected in parallel to a constant high-voltage DC power bus, and incorporates distributed maximum power point tracking (MPPT). The DC bus voltage can be fixed at the optimal level for any inverter, improving inverter efficiency and reliability, said the company. In combination with distributed MPPT, this enables solar photovoltaic systems to harvest 5 to 30 percent more energy than conventional systems.

Overall, the company says the new technology will provide simplified wiring, easy interconnection, unit level monitoring and reduced inverter expenses, which is expected to deliver long-term performance and lower costs throughout the system’s life cycle.

The Parallux system also includes panel-level monitoring for enhanced visibility into system operation with monitoring data sent over the main power bus, so no separate cabling or wireless system is required, said the company.

vBoost has been tested with a wide range of crystalline and thin-film solar panels at eIQ Energy’s test facility and at various ongoing beta site installations. Funding through July 2009 totals $10 million from NGEN Partners and Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC).

The company will be hosting an open house event at its San Jose headquarters on Sept. 17, and is exhibiting at the Solar Power International 2009 trade show in October.

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