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Friday, November 09, 2007

1-Solar: 2007 CCTO Renewables Award Winner Profile

Founder and CEO Mr. Tranh Nguyen talks about 1-Solar Inverter technology

1-Solar, Inc. ( CEO Tranh Nguyen was able to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule meeting with Venture Capitalists (VCs), investors, and customers to discuss his 2007 California Clean Tech Open (CCTO) Renewables Award winning company.

First, Mr. Nguyen said the following about the 1-Solar inverter design:

The main reason for the small size, reduced weight, and long life of our 1-Solar inverter design is our patent-pending Push-Push™ inverter topology. This Push-Push topology converts DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current) in a single step compared to the two steps required in conventional High Frequency (HF) inverters.

Current flows from the input to the output through only three (3) semiconductor devices instead of the six (6) devices used in conventional HF inverters. We modulate the voltage according to a sine wave at high frequency by using a small transformer size with very low modulation losses. Our design eliminates the need for an intermediate high voltage DC bus and its associated storage capacitors thus increasing reliability.

The control circuit for the inverter uses a small Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) yet it is re-usable for Push-Push inverters designed for various power ratings.

Here is Mr. Nguyen’s Bio from the 1-Solar business plan submitted for the 2007 CCTO:

Tranh Nguyen, Founder and CEO. Mr. Nguyen has been involved in power systems, power supplies, and general power electronics for the last 25 years. Prior to 1-Solar, he founded Nphysics/NuForce Inc., of which he was Chairman/CTO. His NuForce Reference 9 amplifier received the 2006 “Amplifier of the Year” and “Product of the Year” awards from audiophile magazines. Mr. Nguyen received his MSEE (Master of Science in Electrical Engineering) from Faculty Polytechnic of Mons Belgium (Faculté Polytechnique de Mons), and his MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Golden Gate University. He holds 7 US patents, and many more pending.

  • Chief Electronics Engineer of an aerospace company, [chief designer of the power system for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile]
  • Engineering manager of Power Supply Dept of a division of Harris Corp.

When asked about 1-Solar funding requirements, Mr. Nguyen said:

Our funding is coming along as usual. Our aerospace background helps us design long life inverters but our new topology is the key factor to their long life.

Tranh Nguyen (seated) with Casey Ng and Jason Lim

By googling the keywords Tranh amplifier, many reviews of Mr. Nguyen’s award-winning audiophile Class-D amplifiers will be found. Mr. Nguyen mentioned that Class-D amplifiers and inverters are cousins.

Based in Rohnert Park, California USA, the 1-Solar website landing page features a pair of high impact videos from the 2007 California Clean Tech Open Final Awards Event Gala by a certain progressive Photovoltaic Blogger.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any engineer that has been in the grid-tied photovoltaic industry since it's conception knows that there are better and more efficient designs already in operation around the world . These have been in operation for many years mainly in Europe. And yes, they are also single conversion. These are proven technologies and are very reliable as well as safe.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are probably referring to the European "Transformless" inverters such as those made by Fronius and others. It is my understanding that these inverters only operate at the high voltages of typically 300V to 600V and sometimes up to 950V.

It is apparently not possible (not easy I guess) to make a straight conversion from the relatively low voltages produced by solar panels (40V-50V) to 120/220 efficiently, without a transformer.

It could be that Mr. Nguyen's design allows this direct conversion. If the author could confirm, I would appreciate that.

(I do understand that solar panels can be hooked up in series to up the voltage, but for homebrew installations and safety's sake, a voltage of 48 volts is preferable)

7:39 PM  

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