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Last Updated on: Tuesday, June 01, 2021 03:06 PM

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More  Solar Circuits

Ideal Diode for PV Solar Panels
designed by David Johnson -- March 1, 2011

Solar panels usually include a diode at their outputs.  The diode prevents current from back feeding into the panel at night from the battery being charged by the panel.
Most photovoltaic solar panels are used to charge a battery during the daytime. Nearly all panels come equipped with a blocking diode.  The diode prevents DC current from flowing backwards from the battery bank into the panel at night.  The usual blocking device of choice is a schottky diode with a typical 0.5v voltage drop.  In some large panels, which can often source over 4 Amps of current, the power loses due to this voltage drop can add up.  As an example a 4KW solar power system made of 20 200 watt panels will dissipate some 40 watts of power in the diodes.  The circuit below uses a new high voltage ideal diode IC from Linear Technology.  The LTC4357 contains all the circuitry needed to control an external n-channel FET.  The circuit shown below performs a standard diode function with a much lower 0.06 voltage drop at 4 Amps.  When current tries to flow in the other direction, the IC turns off the FET, blocking the current.

The LTC4357 contains a charge pump circuit to provide the needed gate-source voltage for the n-channel device.  An n-channel is used since they tend to have much lower channel resistances and higher voltages than p-channel parts.  The 100v device picked has an on resistance of only 0.015 ohms.  The circuit is good for over 10 Amps but I would recommend that the FET be mounted to a heat sink if the current exceeds 8 Amps.

Click on Circuit Below to view PDF of Schematic

Ideal Diode for PV Solar Panel designed

 by David Johnson March 6, 2011

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