SOURCE: Semitech Semiconductor

Semitech Semiconductor

March 09, 2011 11:00 ET

Towada Solar Selects Semitech Power Line Communications to Enable Connectivity of Its Qool Technology Solar Panels

Using the SM6401, Towada Extends Reach of Remote Energy Management for Solar Panels to 5 KM

SINGAPORE--(Marketwire - March 9, 2011) - Semitech Semiconductor, a provider of power line communications solutions that enable the transformation of the electricity grid into a smart grid, today announced that its SM6401 power line communications (PLC) SoC has been designed into a solar module monitoring system by TOWADA Group's Qool Technology.

Highlighting the ability to remotely manage energy at a range of up to 5 KM, Towada Solar debuted the new solar monitoring system at the recent PV Expo 2011 in Tokyo.

Headquartered in Akita, Japan, Towada Solar Company is a leader in residential solar panels and PLC platforms that let users remotely manage and control solar modules. By allowing connectivity via PLC between utilities and homeowners, utilities and solar producers can now communicate power information in real time, collect power generation information and provide an energy management platform that benefits all involved. 

"Through communicating power generation information between households and the smart grid, we allow consumers to maximize the efficiency of the solar modules and know first-hand how much energy is being produced and provided to the power grid," said Mr. Noboru Yuze, CEO of Towada Solar Co., Ltd. "Semitech's SM6401 is the perfect fit, as it makes this connectivity possible in an extremely reliable fashion -- even over long distances."

Solar modules must be carefully managed to provide optimal performance. This involves communications to enable remote control and real-time monitoring. Remote control is used to control the degree of tilt to maximize sun exposure, as well as to control individual panels or an entire field. Real-time monitoring enables maintenance monitoring, detection of silicon degradation/cell replacement need, weather conditions, theft detection and power output and efficiency.

"We are excited that we are able to deliver value to innovative smart energy companies such as Towada Solar," said Mike Holt, Semitech's vice president of marketing and sales. "Communication is the key to the successful management of solar energy systems, and Semitech's PLC products permit our customers to design efficient and sustainable energy solutions." 

Due to harsh noise and variations in equipment and differing standards, communications over the power grid are difficult. Semitech uses modulation and signal processing technology that is not only adjustable in speed, but also 'frequency agile' to deliver highly robust and reliable communications. Semitech's available products include the SM2200 OFDM power line communications transceiver, the SM2101 FSK/BPSK transceiver and the SM6401 power line communications system on a chip.

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About TOWADA Group, Inc.
Towada Solar Company is a part of the TOWADA Group, Inc. Towada Solar provides residential solar cell module and industrial solar cell modules that withstand harsh environments.

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About Semitech Semiconductor Pte. Ltd.
Semitech Semiconductor, headquartered in Singapore, provides the semiconductor devices that enable the transformation of the electricity grid into a smart grid. By connecting utilities to their customers, Semitech's chips help to transform homes into energy-aware "smart homes" that react to conditions on the grid, thus implementing a worldwide communications network based on the existing power grid.

Semitech's devices are used in smart meters, smart grid monitors and street light controllers to implement a connected system that is significantly more reliable and flexible than existing approaches -- and interoperates well with prior deployments.

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