Sustainability and Citizenship
Message from CEO Balu Balakrishnan
In 1997 I read a paper from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explaining that billions of dollars are wasted each year by computers, TVs and other electronic devices that are plugged in but not in use. One of the culprits behind this "standby" waste was the power supplies that convert the high voltage from a wall outlet into the lower voltage needed by most electronics. These power supplies tended to be highly inefficient when it came to supplying just enough watts to power a remote-control sensor, LED display, or some other standby function. At that time, Power Integrations was developing a new power-supply chip called TinySwitch, featuring an innovative switching technique that enabled high efficiency at reduced levels of output. It was a "light bulb" moment for us; what we had thought would be a side benefit of our new product was not only a solution to a major economic and environmental problem but also a great business opportunity for Power Integrations.
Since then, all of our AC-DC power-conversion chips have included this technology, known as EcoSmart. In 2022, we shipped our 20 billionth chip with EcoSmart technology, and we estimate that these chips are saving more than 15 terawatt-hours of electricity annually – enough to power more than two million homes for a full year. They do this without adding cost and without any change in behavior on the part of end users. I believe that the impact of EcoSmart technology will expand in the years ahead as billions of new electronic devices are connected to the grid, such as USB charging ports, smart utility meters, networked thermostats and myriad other “IoT” and smart-home devices.
Our commitment to clean technologies also includes investments in gallium nitride (GaN) technology, LED lighting, efficient motor-driver products and high-power gate drivers. Our proprietary PowiGaN technology, introduced in 2019, replaces traditional silicon transistors with high-voltage GaN switches, enabling a significantly higher level of power-conversion efficiency. Our LED-driver products deliver the reliability and efficiency needed to help LED technology fulfill its promise to transform the lighting industry. Our motor-driver products complement the efficiency of brushless DC motors used in many consumer appliances, while our gate drivers are vital components in clean technologies such as solar- and wind-energy, electric vehicles and efficient long-haul DC transmission.
More broadly, we believe that there is economic opportunity in operating with the benefit of society and the environment in mind. We take the long view in our planning and decision making, and invest for sustainable growth and profitability. We use solar energy to help power our facilities; in 2021 we added solar arrays at our new facilities in Switzerland and Germany, and in 2023 we plan to add a megawatt of generation capacity to our existing solar array in San Jose. We incorporate green, conflict-free materials in our products, and foster stable, long-term relationships with manufacturing partners holding ISO quality and environmental certifications. We value our people, providing generous benefits while giving employees the tools and training to grow as individuals, and the freedom to take risks in the service of innovation. In 2022 we received Great Place to Work® certification, recognizing that more than 80% of our employees regard Power Integrations as a great place to work – 25 points higher than the average U.S. company. In fact, 90% of employees reported feeling a sense of pride in the company’s accomplishments.
I share that feeling of pride, not only in what our technology has done to benefit the world, but also the responsible way in which we conduct our business. I invite you to read more about it here on our website, and I encourage you to view our 2022 Analyst Day presentation, in which I spoke about all of the ways Power Integrations is contributing to a lower-carbon future.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Power Integrations, Inc.
Updated: January 2023