Southern Company's subsidiary, Georgia Power, commissioned a 30MW alternating current solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant at Fort Gordon military installation in Augusta, Georgia, US, in November 2016.
Based in Malvern, US, Silicon Power is a leading research and development (R&D) company in the high-voltage power electronics markets, with over 40 active patents for the utility and defense sectors. It specializes in the testing, design and manufacture of high-power semiconductor devices, transformers, power management systems and power conversion systems.
The company’s mission is to serve the global electrical power market with leading-edge power electronics systems and components that offer optimum value and quality to our customers. The company’s revenues split evenly between standard products, prototype and government-sponsored R&D.
Since 1994, Silicon Power has achieved global recognition as the industry leader in the design and manufacture of semiconductors for high / medium power electronics. Silicon Power’s catalog of power semiconductor components include: rectifier-type diodes, thyristors, phase control and line commutation devices, pulse power application devices and phase modules.
Details of Silicon Power’s thyristors and diodes include:
- Converter grade, inverter grade, pulse-power thyristors
- Rectifier and controlled recovery diodes
- Up to 125mm in size
- Up to 6,000V and 7,000A
- Ceramic press-pak (hockey-puck) and Light Silicon Sandwich (LSS) packages
Power semiconductor components
Silicon Power has developed a new line of miniature solid state switches designed for use in a variety of pulse or discharge applications:
- Fuzzes EFI / ESA
- CD ignition systems
- Crowbar systems
- Flash lamps
- Sparkgap / ignitron replacement
EPRI and Silicon Power have revolutionized the utility industry by introducing their Si-based award-winning SGTO and S-Diode devices. Together, these provide low-loss, highly-reliable, low-stress, smaller and lighter equipment since they have lower watt loss than IGBT’s or other switching devices.
The ThinPak used in SGTO modules make them 100 times more reliable than IGBT modules and feature a 10-fold reduction in system size and weight compared to standard GTO-based systems.
The novel Junction Termination Extension (JTE) design minimizes both bulk and passivation layer fields.
Silicon carbide SGTO devices
Silicon Power recognizes that the industry needs smaller, higher power density power systems, and requires the development of new power semiconductor devices capable of operating at higher frequencies, voltages and temperatures.
This demand for faster, smaller and higher power density power systems can be accomplished by using wide band materials such as silicon carbide. The physical and electronics properties of SiC make it the foremost semiconductor material for following electronic device requirements:
- Optoelectronic control
- High temperature operation
- Radiation resistance
- High-power / high-frequency
Sub-cycle static transfer switches
In 1995, Silicon Power developed and commissioned the first medium voltage sub-cycle static transfer switch (MVSTS). Medium and low-voltage STS have become the standard commercial products of this company.
Silicon Power’s advanced power quality systems protect the productivity of major corporations around the globe. Silicon Power developed the first and most advanced medium voltage static transfer switch and their low and medium voltage switches and power quality systems have broad application in a world increasingly dependent upon the microchip. Silicon Power’s static transfer switches offer flexible power quality solutions that protect mission critical operations and sensitive equipment from interruptions, sags and swells in the electric power supply. The static transfer switch automatically transfers electric power from the primary to an alternative feeder whenever a disturbance in the power supply is detected.
Designed for locations with dual independent feeds, these programmable switches combine advanced microprocessing with the switching power to handle loads up to 38kV and 1200A. The static transfer switch offers improved system reliability, reduced downtime and increased productivity.
Solid state fault current limiter
Silicon Power is developing a fault current limiter for use in utility transmission and distribution applications. The solid state current limiter monitors the main bus and dynamically inserts additional impedance into the line in the event of a fault. The use of new device technologies, such as Silicon Power’s Si-SGTO and ARPA-E funded effort for an optically controlled, high voltage (6.5-15KV), high current (100A/cm2), high frequency (10-20KHz) SiC-SGTO devices for use in power system distribution and transmission has opened up new unprecedented horizons in power systems architectures.
The applications of these new and evolving technologies are showing great promise to enhance fast fault current limiting, ride through fault, HVDC, StatCom and SVar at the substation level as more complete testing is completed validating the device / module and system performance. They will also allow for more efficient and simpler implementation and connection to smart grid initiatives for wind and solar.
Custom power solutions
Silicon Power has developed a number of custom power solutions including:
- Pulsed power switch assemblies (>150kA, up to 30kV)
- High-speed protective bypass switches for series connected high power inverters
- Custom inverter systems (up to 3MVA)
Silicon Power Corporation has been awarded $4,750,000 via funding through ARPA-E's second open call for projects aimed at advancing high-potential research.