Did you realize that about 10% of household energy consumption is wasted in the standby mode of devices in your home, costing over $5 billion annually in the U.S? The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab estimates that a 75% reduction is possible in new equipment by replacing inefficient linear power supplies with smarter switch-mode power supplies, such as those made by Power Integrations.
Balu Balakrishnan, CEO of Power Integrations, Inc., (NASDAQ:POWI) appeared on CNBC's Street Signs, see video, today, marking the 10th anniversary of the companies founding. Their energy efficient power supply components are one of the items that receive little publicity, yet contribute significantly to the reduction of our power usage. Their integrated circuits with EcoSmart(r) technology are used in power supplies, which convert high-voltage AC power from a wall outlet into the low-voltage DC power needed by most electronic products.
Up to 90% of standby power is wasted energy consumed by inefficient power supply designs and unnecessarily energized components. The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab estimates that a 75% reduction is possible in new equipment and that nearly all standby functions can be performed with a total appliance standby power of one watt or less. This can be achieved by using improved power supply technologies and designs, namely, by replacing inefficient linear power supplies with smarter switch-mode power supplies.
It is estimated by International Energy Agency that 5 to 15% of household electricity consumption worldwide is wasted in standby mode. In the US, each watt of energy costs approximately $1 to $1.5 per year. The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab estimates that standby waste costs US households over $5 Billion in electricity a year.
Power Integrations EcoSmart technology intelligently manages the flow of power through a power supply, which convert high-voltage AC power from a wall outlet into the low-voltage DC power needed by most electronics, reducing energy consumption during normal operation, maximizing efficiency during light load or "standby" power conditions and cutting no-load losses in charger applications by up to 97 percent.
The company is the leading supplier of high-voltage analog integrated circuits (ICs), used in compact, energy-efficient power conversion. Their chips replace the bulky copper-and-iron transformers (linear power supplies) commonly used to power computers, cell phones, modems, rechargeable tools and many other everyday products. They have sold nearly 2 billion chips with EcoSmart technology since 1998. The company's EcoSmart energy-efficiency technology has saved consumers and businesses around the world more than an estimated $2.6 billion on their electricity bills since its introduction in 1998.
ICs with Power Integrations' EcoSmart technology include extra circuitry on the chip (using no additional-cost external components) that senses when a power supply is in a low-power state (no-load or standby). The “smarts” in EcoSmart then takes one or more steps to improve the efficiency of the power supply in this state:
- It lowers the “duty cycle”, that is it limits the supply of power to the load, drawing less current from the electric utility
- It “cycle skips”, supplying short bursts of power to the load, waiting for the device to “wake-up,” using electric energy only during each short burst
- It lowers the frequency of the power supply, reducing the “switching losses,” thus improving efficiency while in low-power operation
The above measures significantly improve the overall power supply efficiency because of two simple facts: power adapters, battery chargers and appliances are always plugged in; and the devices they power are typically in a low power state as much as 22 or more hours per day, every day.
Until this year, it mostly sold its chips to makers of power supplies, those little black boxes on cords that are plugged into electrical outlets to regulate power to consumer electronics devices. This year, it moved to cell phones, a much higher-volume market. The LinkSwitch family of products is an integrated high-voltage power conversion ICs designed specifically to displace low-power, four watts or less, linear transformers. Other applications for LinkSwitch include low-power adapters and chargers for personal electronics, cordless phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players.
Power Integrations is also moving into other high-volume fields, such as LED lighting.
According to Investors Business Daily, last quarter, the companies sales rose 12% year over year to $49.8 million. Earnings jumped 68% to 32 cents a share. Its share price is up 66% since January, to about $33 a share. IBD gives its stock a Relative Strength Rating of 89, which means it has outperformed 89% of all stocks in the past 12 months.
A power supply that has earned an ENERGY STAR are on the average 30% more efficient than convention models. A list of manufacturers of products with ENERGY STAR qualified External Power Adapters (power supplies) can be found here. It is not possible to determine which of these products contain chips made by Power Inovations as they are only a component of the adapters.
This post was largely composed from information on the companies website.