Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Sustainable Development Technology Canada
Government of Canada

Government of Canada

July 28, 2011 13:14 ET

Government of Canada Supports Project to Enhance Solar Panel Efficiency

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 28, 2011) - A technology that could significantly increase solar energy harvest while reducing the cost of panel installation has been given a boost today.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has awarded a project led by Ottawa's Solantro Semiconductor Corp. over $2M in funding for the implementation of a nano-inverter design in an integrated circuit-based format, with an aim to compare the performance of alternating-current Building Integrated Photovoltaic (AC-BIPV) systems to conventional direct-current Building Integrated Photovoltaic (DC-BIPV) systems. This will be done in a number of different geographical locations, including the National Research Council's Canadian Centre for Housing Technology in Ottawa.

"Through our support for cutting-edge clean energy technology we are creating high-quality jobs and protecting our environment," said Minister Oliver. "This project demonstrates our leadership in driving technology innovation to help create a vibrant clean energy industry in Canada."

"Making clean technologies more accessible is key in reaching their wide adoption," said SDTC President and CEO Vicky Sharpe. "It is through projects like this one that we can take prototypes out of the labs and test them in real-world settings so that they can reach the market faster, strengthening our economy and reducing our environmental impacts at the same time."

The standard practice for building a BIPV system is to arrange the individual BIPV modules, each generating 10 to 100 W, in series connected strings and to use a central inverter to convert the DC power to grid-compatible AC power. However, the series string configuration has a number of drawbacks: the power output from the string is disproportionately degraded if one or more of its modules is partially shaded; a breakdown in any one BIPV module cuts off the power flow from the entire string; and the central inverter is a single point of failure for the whole system. Solantro has developed an AC-grid approach for interconnecting BIPV modules based on its patented nano-inverter. This approach has the potential to increase solar energy harvest by up to 30%, reduce the cost and time of installation by 50%, enhance safety and eliminate certain restrictions on site suitability.

"We are very grateful to receive such a financial contribution at a very critical time of our market development. This project has allowed us to pull together a consortium of world leading innovators in the field of Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics. Our partners can be found in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Benelux, Italy and the USA. All are committed to bringing true semiconductor economics to solar energy generation in residential and commercial applications." said Antoine Paquin, Founder, President and CEO of Solantro Semiconductor Corp.

SDTC funding for Solantro's project will be leveraged with funding from members of its consortium, including the National Research Council, System Photonics S.p.A., Solarcentury, Captelia — EDF ENR/Imerys and Tecta Solar.

About SDTC

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is an arm's-length foundation created by the Government of Canada which has received $1.05 billion as part of the Government's commitment to create a healthy environment and a high quality of life for all Canadians. SDTC operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions. The $590 million SD Tech Fund™ supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil. The $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund™ supports the establishment of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels. SDTC operates as a not-for-profit corporation and has been working with the public and private sector including industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the financial community and all levels of government to achieve this mandate. For more information, please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Relations:
    Patrice Breton
    Director, Communications
    (613) 234-6313 x295

    Julie Di Mambro
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister
    Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa