National Semiconductor goes green(er)
Acquires photovoltaic start-up
Analog chipmaker National Semiconductor took another step towards repositioning itself a green-technology heavyweight when it announced Friday that it had acquired Act Solar, a Santa Clara, California company specializing in power optimization of solar-cell arrays.
Privately held Act Solar was founded in 2006 and began field trials of its self-described "flagship technology," PowerString, in 2008. PowerString works to balance photo-voltaic (PV) arrays, which are notoriously susceptible to overall inefficiencies when even part of an array is degraded due to aging, or shaded by dust or debris.
Even bird-droppings on one PV panel can make an entire array less efficient. According to Nat Semi, as little as 10 per cent shade on a PV array can result in as much as 50 per cent lost energy. PowerString's array balancers reduce that loss considerably, according to the company.
Act Solar's PowerString now becomes "part of the SolarMagic family," according to a company statement. As such, the Solarians join a company that only last week announced 1,725 layoffs and the closing of two of its five plants.
But with the US government investing billions in green technology, the Act Solar acquisition might help point struggling Nat Semi in the right direction - towards federally supported funding.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. ®
There are a lot of "financial" companies flogging P-V investment opportunities in France at the moment due to EDF being forced by gouv.fr to buy 15%(?) of their electricity from renewables.
Not only does this seem pretty dumb in a country where 85% of generating capacity is nuclear and a further 10% hydo, but the figures being bandied about as to the annual generating capacity of a fixed sourth facing panel inclined at ~25 deg are frankly absurd.
PV = Good
Lead acid storage = Bad.
It only really works if the panels are connected to the grid on an in / out reciprocal arrangement. If not, then the green plus is lost to the green negative of disposal of lead and acid.
Just my tupp'orth