The Role of Semiconductors in Clean Energy

Semiconductors play a key role in clean energy by enabling clean, renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency. Semiconductor materials are the basis for solar electric energy systems. Semiconductor devices are also used to condition power from solar arrays and wind turbines so the energy can be used by electric equipment and fed onto the electric grid. Semiconductors are playing an increasingly important role in making the electric grid more intelligent through the use of smart meters, sensors, wireless and wire line communications, and control systems. This intelligence enables the electric utilities to more easily detect faults, manage the demand for power when capacity is constrained or costly, and integrate renewable and distributed sources of power into the grid. This primer provides a background for how semiconductors are used to enable clean energy in different sectors of the economy.