eIQ Energy’s energy harvesting technology has been patented

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The US Patent and Trademark Office has awarded eIQ Energy a patent for the energy harvesting technology used in its DC Parallel Solar System, which connects PV panels in parallel rather than in series. At the beginning of this year, this technology was used the Boots on the Roof solar training program.

Patent No. 8,138,631 was granted on March 20, 2012 and outlines an invention for harvesting maximum power from multiple direct current (DC) energy sources – for instance a solar energy system that includes PV panels with different power outputs. The patent describes a mechanism for connecting solar modules in parallel onto a common DC buss that is set by an inverter, which converts DC into alternating current (AC). This technology allows solar PV systems to use a single inverter in applications where multiple smaller ones might otherwise be necessary. It also provides better reliability because no failure-prone devices (such as electrolytic capacitors) are required.

“This patent demonstrates the disruptive nature of Parallel Solar technology and particularly the simple elegance of its design, which brings cost savings and flexibility to PV system installations,” said Gene Krzywinski, eIQ Energy's chief technology officer. “We're pleased to have the originality and value of our technology recognized, as well as the protection from infringement that this patent affords.”

The approved patent application provides a detailed description of an “Advanced Renewable Energy Harvesting” system developed by eIQ Energy and used to enable its DC Parallel Solar System products. Besides combining power from multiple DC energy sources, the system includes DC-to-DC converter modules that boost the PV panels' electrical output to a predictable, constant voltage set by a central inverter. The converter modules include a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) function that ensures each panel is contributing its full generating potential. In addition, the system includes communication capabilities to transmit panel-level operational data wirelessly or over power lines to a central monitoring system.
 

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