Design engineers are turning to gallium nitride (GaN) transistors to increase the efficiency of solar power inverters, while also reducing its size and weight.

SolPad, for instance, uses GaN Systems' 650V GaN transistors in its FlexGrid inverter, which features an intelligent design capable of compensating for diverse power environments. SolPad said its FlexGrid inverter can be seamlessly integrated into its SolPad Home, a built-in “solar micro-storage” system that can power an entire home or business with electrically-optimised power efficiency.

SolPad devices have the built-in intelligence to automatically charge from converted solar energy or the local utility grid, depending on changes in sun intensity, according to the company. When daytime utility rates are high, SolPad switches to battery power, and then switches back to grid power when rates are low.

The FlexGrid inverter is also integrated within SolPad Mobile, in a unibody enclosure that houses solar power generation, energy storage and communication in one device. This device delivers enough high power to operate heavy-duty power tools such as leaf blowers and skill saws. SolPad Mobile provides two universal outlets that output grid-quality, pure sine wave AC.

When in direct sunlight, the device’s three fast-charging USB ports provide unlimited power to smartphones. For additional power requirements, multiple SolPad Mobile units can be linked via a standard IEC power outlet. Using PLC and wireless technology, SolPad Mobile communicates, monitors and controls power with a user-friendly mobile application.

SolPad said the 650V GaN transistors played a role in obtaining the desired inverter operating characteristics by delivering performance five times better than silicon or silicon carbide products, and by enabling the inverter to be reduced to a significantly more compact package. GaN transistors also help to provide system stability across a wide range of power levels, aided the high level of inverter integration and facilitated stable device expandability, according to the company.