On June 30, 2008, National Semiconductor announced that it is field testing new technology which can increase the overall energy output of solar photovoltaic systems. The product, called SolarMagic, uses the company’s expertise in power conversion and advanced algorithms to get the most energy possible out of each panel in a solar array.
Today’s systems are limited by the weakest link, and one or two compromised panels (due to shade, dust, pollution, etc.) can take down the entire array, much like when a section of Christmas lights goes out due to one bad bulb. If one section of a PV panel is compromised, SolarMagic permits that panel to produce what little energy it can while the other panels continue to operate at their full potential. The company expects SolarMagic to be commercially available in early 2009.