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National Semiconductor Enters PV Market

by Staff, July 1, 2008

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- National Semiconductor Corp. is the latest technology company getting into the renewables industry with a chip that can make solar panels work more efficiently.

The company said Monday it would enter the photovoltaic market with its SolarMagic technology, which it claims can recoup as much as 50 percent of the energy lost to imperfect conditions, such as shading, dirt accumulation and panel mismatches.

"National's entry into the photovoltaic market is a natural extension of our focus on energy efficient systems," Brian L. Halla, National's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Our technologists solved this real-world problem and are enabling consumers to produce more energy under adverse conditions and reduce the payback time of their investment with an environmentally friendly source of power."

The company is currently conducting field trials with REgrid Power Inc., with plans to enlist other companies in the coming months.

"We have observed energy output improvements of up to 44 percent during shaded conditions and 12 percent overall versus the same system running without SolarMagic technology," said Tom McCalmont, REgrid's president and CEO.

HP announced in early June that it would use its transparent transistor technology to make solar panels more efficient through a partnership with Xtreme Energetics.

Google has invested heavily in solar power with its Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal initiative, which included $10 million in funding to eSolar, a solar thermal power company.

National Semiconductor Enters PV Market, July 1, 2008

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