Most people think of National Semiconductor as a chip company. But the Silicon Valley mainstay has been moving into the solar business and on Thursday it scooped up Act Solar, a startup that makes equipment designed to maximize power production from photovoltaic panels.
Act Solar, a three-year-old Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, developed the PowerString, a device that recirculates energy in a rooftop solar array to keep all panels producing electricity in the event that shade, dirt or glitches affecting one solar module don’t impact others. PowerString also allows solar array owners to wirelessly monitor the performance of their systems.
National Semiconductor (NSM) already makes diagnostic and measuring equipment for use in maximizing electricity production from solar panels and will fold Act Solar into that division. “Early field tests and historical modeling have shown that this [Act Solar] solution can cumulatively deliver 40 to 80 percent more power over the operating life of a solar panel installation,” National Semiconductor said in a statement.