The integrated circuit design pictured above was designed by Unified Solar, a student lead team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who won the regional price of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition at the MIT Clean Energy Prize at the end of April. The team claims that their design will double the average energy capture for solar arrays with centralized inverters (for less than one-third the cost of current solutions). These savings are achieved by eliminating the “Christmas tree” or “weakest link” effect where dirty or shaded solar panels reduce the output of other panels in the system.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Unified Solar via US Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan.