21 July 2022

GaN PV inverter: Creation of the IPM PV inverter 

As System Innovator, Neways is working on different innovation projects. One of these projects is the European GaNext project where we are developing an Intelligent Power Module (IPM) together with our international partners to remove existing barriers for adopting the Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology for practical solutions. Gallium Nitride ”GaN” is a promising material to replace silicon in power electronics application in the 650 V market sector, such as solar (PV) inverters, power supplies, motor controllers or LED drivers. Power systems based on GaN can be lighter, more compact, significantly more efficient and potentially cheaper than those based on Silicon.

Our aim is to build an extremely compact solar inverter (PV inverter) that incorporates both the GaN technology and the IPM to contribute to the miniaturization and efficiency increase of power applications. In our previous articles on the GaN technology we have explained some of the fundamental choices with respect to the switching frequencies, and the structured way of bringing the inverter with discrete GaN components to life.

Meanwhile we were working on the last improvements and tests of the discrete GaN inverter’s output stage; making sure we get the most out of the technology so that we can reuse all the building blocks and knowledge we have gained in future product developments.

Important steps we have already taken are design and build-up of the inverter with the IPM solution. We updated the various boards in the inverter and included improvements wherever we identified them. Meanwhile All PCBA’s are created and they are undergoing hardware unit tests as-we -speak.

Proudly we present the new power board, ready to accept the improved coils delivered by our partner Sumida and the 2 IPM’s, created and delivered by the GaNext consortium:


Figure 1 B0 IPM Power board

So now the fun part starts: again, as with the discrete inverter we’ll do a structured bring-up procedure. This helps us in reducing the amount of boards needed and fully characterizing the circuits we designed.

Next steps include the bring up of the whole assembly and the assessment of the realized power density figures with this version of our PV inverter!

More information on GaNext: https://ganext-project.com