Solar bypass semiconductor device protects PV from lighting

October 08, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
With its own “CoolRUN” technology, Microsemi has introduced a devices for solar (photovoltaic) arrays that offers improved efficiency of under-the-glass design, superior package size compliance and lightning strike protection.

The LX2410A IDEAL solar bypass device is designed to provide a bypass path in photovoltaic (PV) module applications. The LX2410A joins Microsemi’s solar bypass family, reduces the cost and increases the reliability of photovoltaic solar modules by replacing the Schottky diodes in junction boxes with an under-the-glass, higher performance solution.

“Our new LX2410A IDEAL solar bypass devices provide unique advantages over competing products, including thinner packaging and better lightning strike protection capabilities,” the company says.

High current PV module applications require a bypass path as a protection mechanism to enable the array to produce power when one part of the array may be shaded or damaged. In addition the device is required to protect the array from lightning strikes. Microsemi’s LX2410A is claimed as the only bi-directional surge protection device designed to handle up to 500A of surge protection in the forward and reverse direction, maximissing lifetime robustness and reliability of the device.

The thin package of the LX2410A with 0.7 mm maximum thickness is designed for mounting inside solar PV panels to shrink the junction box and reduce expensive copper wiring to and from the box. This minimises system expense and enables higher power PV modules with smaller junction boxes and less copper losses for higher efficiency. The pads of the package are 2.6 mm apart to meet the IEC61730-1 and IEC61730-2 creepage and clearance requirements.

Unlike a Schottky diode, the LX2410A is an active device that has an extremely low voltage drop and reverse leakage current, resulting in increased PV module power output, negligible heat generation and temperature rise during operation. Its patented CoolRUN technology’s non-hiccup control eliminates electromagnetic interference (EMI) radiating from PV module strings.

REC, the largest European brand of solar panels, has evaluated active bypass devices like the LX2410A in its next generation solar panels. According to the company’s engineering team, the thin package and high efficiency of the LX2410A allow them to be