Australian Solar Micro-Inverter Technology Gets Funding Boost

Melbourne’s Semitech Semiconductor Pty Ltd has been awarded a grant of $1.86 million to further develop its micro-inverter technology.

The grant is part of the Gillard Government’s $200 million Clean Technology Innovation Program; which has been funded by revenue from the carbon price.

A micro-inverter is a small box situated on the back of or nearby a solar panel that converts direct current electricity generated by a solar panel to alternating current; suitable for use by household appliances. Unlike a traditional solar inverter, which handles the conversion for a number of panels plus other functions, a micro-inverter is associated with a single panel.

Micro-inverters can offer improved overall system efficiency, but it comes at a cost – a solar panel array using micro-inverters can be up to 35 per cent more expensive than a system using a central solar inverter.

Semitech Semiconductor’s technology doesn’t require peripherals such as additional processing chips, a modem or a separate controller; which all add to the price of micro-inverter based systems. It is an integrated circuit that performs the functions of a micro-inverter and smart grid communication.

Federal Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, attended the Semitech Semiconductor premises in Kensington with Cath Bowtell, the Labor Candidate for the Seat of Melbourne, to announce the grant.

“The carbon price has settled into Australia’s economy and is working to reduce carbon pollution,” Mr Combet said. As part of this transformation, the Gillard Government is partnering with businesses to invest in clean and renewable technologies. Our assistance to Semitech Semiconductor is a great example of these partnerships.”

Ms. Bowtell said she was “delighted that a Melbourne company is contributing to our clean energy future and that Labor is helping turn this clever idea into reality.”

The Clean Technology Innovation Program offers grants of between $50,000 and $5 million. More information on the program is available at


Micro-inverters vs. power optimizers