Faculty Alireza Khaligh
Department of Energy
Associate Professor Alireza Khaligh (ECE/ISR) is the Principal Investigator for a new three-year, $2.37M Department of Energy (DOE) cooperative agreement, “Compact and Low-Cost Microinverter for Residential Systems.” Professor Patrick McCluskey (ME) is the co-Principal Investigator. The team also includes Dr. Patrick Chapman, SunPower Corporation, San Jose, Calif.; and Assistant Professor Fariborz Musavi, Department of Electrical Engineering, Washington State University Vancouver.
Hardware innovations are critical to address solar photovoltaic (PV) reliability challenges and drive down the cost of installing and maintaining a PV solar system, the DOE said in its announcement. Power electronics, which convert electricity from one form to another, are the critical link between PV arrays and the electric grid. Advances in power electronics can help grid operators rapidly detect and respond to problems, protect against physical and cyber vulnerabilities, and enable consumers to manage electricity use. Advanced solar power electronics can help deliver power safely, integrate PV with storage controls, and ensure power reliability.
Khaligh’s team will focus on developing a new generation of residential system microinverters using emerging gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors. The new microinverters will have reduced costs of manufacturing and enhanced reliability, thermal management and packaging. The resulting products will be commercialized by SunPower, a market leader in high performance PV systems technology for residential, commercial and power plant applications.