The future belongs to renewable energies

There were two world records in 2023 – but no positive ones. The warmest year on record, with an increase close to 1.5°C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial level; And the highest level of global CO2 emissions, with an all-time high of over 37 billion tons (Gt) of carbon dioxide.

We urgently need technology if we are going to turn the tide, specifically technologies that foster electrification, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Luckily, renewable energies are unmistakably on the rise – worldwide. In 2023, as much as one third (30.2%) of global electricity was already generated using natural sources. Solar and wind energy are the clear leaders. We are seeing massive investments in new capacities all over the world. In 2023, solar and wind represented almost 100% of newly added renewable capacities (98%).

Did you know? This green expansion would not be possible without microelectronics. Innovative semiconductors are part of every renewable power plant, especially wind turbines and photovoltaics. They help get the most out of natural sources, avoid loss and play a crucial role in the storage and transmission of green energy.

As a market leader, Infineon is robustly driving this positive development. Infineon components are built into many modern power plants and help avoid large amounts of CO2 emissions.

Click here and explore wind and solar power in 3D.

Getting more out of sun and wind

Making renewable energy generation more efficient is a paramount task in global plans to reduce CO2 emissions and increase energy efficiency in total. Wind and solar energy in particular have a considerable share in our efforts to protect the climate. Naturally renewable and with an unlimited supply – both sources are needed to meet the world’s growing demand and help reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

There has been a huge rise in solar, wind and other renewable energies in recent years. Meanwhile, renewable energies have even reached cost parity with fossil fuels, granting them a key role in the ambition to make the world greener. Right from the start, semiconductors have been essential for making renewables more and more efficient and thus commercially profitable. And: Renewable energies also are a crucial factor in the zero emissions goal of electric mobility.


Efficient wind power needs optimal system solutions

In wind turbines, power semiconductors convert electricity and couple the generator to the grid. A wind power converter in a wind turbine controls several essential functions apart from transferring power and therefore requires power semiconductors of the highest quality. Wind turbine designs have to provide maximum availability to contribute to grid stability. Grid stability, therefore, depends on power semiconductor devices that offer dynamic capabilities, excellent functionality, and superior reliability.

Infineon’s power module, the PrimePACKTM, supports a wide range of activities in the wind turbine nacelle during efficient wind power generation: feeding the generated electricity into the grid, ensuring grid stability, aligning the wind turbine and the rotor blades with the wind, protecting the wind turbine from overheating or freezing and shutting down the wind turbine in an emergency.

Application paper: Power converters and inverters for wind turbines

Deeper insight on wind: Whitepaper and application presentation

Innovative wind power converters at optimized cost

The PrimePACK™ IGBT5 with .XT Interconnection Technology in 1700 V is the leading product in the wind market for the coming years offering best-in-class power cycling capability, leading to a longer lifetime. PrimePACK™ 3+ is a state-of-the-art power module package ideally suited to wind applications. PrimePACK™ 3+ housing enables increased current-carrying capabilities together with EiceDRIVER™ isolated gate drivers for wind power converters. In addition to IGBT5 .XT there are also EconoDUAL™ and EconoPACK™+ with IGBT4 chip technology together with EiceDRIVER™ isolated gate drivers for wind power converters.

Explore our portfolio for wind applications

Solutions for efficient solar energy

Photovoltaic systems provide a very modular way to install a power generating unit – from a single household to the plant level. But as with wind, the use of solar energy entails the major challenge of balancing supply and demand. Depending on weather conditions, the power supplied by photovoltaic (PV) modules fluctuates heavily. That’s why the efficient combination of solar panels and energy storage systems with the help of semiconductor technologies is one effective way of synchronizing supply and demand.

Another technical challenge: Solar modules supply power in the form of direct current (DC), which has to be converted to alternating current (AC) before you can feed it into the grid, use it or transmit it to the point of use. Power semiconductors and solar inverter technologies need to convert DC to AC and transmit the power with minimal losses.

Depending on the exact point at which the inverters are used, e.g. at the PV cell or in the battery, these inverters are categorized as micro-inverters, power optimizers, string inverters or central inverters. For example, batteries need a constant voltage level for charging. That means the voltage of the solar module has to be lowered or raised without losing energy. Special microchips work like a switch in this case, providing the battery with just the right voltage.

Application page: Solutions for solar energy systems

Deeper insight on solar: Whitepaper

Broad portfolio for solar applications

The Infineon portfolio comprises a broad selection of inverters ranging from just a few watts and kilowatts for residential use to several megawatts for the commercial and utility-scale markets. It includes best-in-class discrete OptiMOS™, CoolMOS™  and CoolSiC™ MOSFETs and IGBTs as well as highly integrated 3-level Easy 1B/2B modules, functionally integrated EiceDRIVER™ gate driver ICs and XMC™ microcontrollers. Backed by our end-to-end application expertise, we offer chip combinations to achieve leading power density levels and best-in-class efficiency.

Explore our portfolio for solar applications

Explore how to increase energy efficiency in other use cases