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SolarMagic Power Optimizer Passes Rigorous Testing for Reliability, Durability

May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009 - National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:NSM) today announced results of rigorous internal reliability testing for its SolarMagic™ power optimizers. The results of the tests demonstrate SolarMagic has an industry-leading mean time between failures (MTBF) of 455 years which, when coupled with its 20-year warranty, make National’s SolarMagic power optimizer one of the most reliable electronic photovoltaic (PV) system components available. SolarMagic improves the output of solar arrays when affected by real-world conditions such as shade, debris and panel aging.

“National Semiconductor has long been known for quality and reliability, creating high-performance analog and power management products for extremely demanding applications in space, military and automotive areas. We are now applying that expertise in reliability to raise the performance bar for the PV industry,” said Dr. Prasad Chaparala, director of National’s Technology Reliability.

After decades of designing and manufacturing analog and power management integrated circuits (ICs), National has the proven ability to provide an exceptionally reliable product in SolarMagic. National currently produces billions of analog and mixed-signal ICs a year and has a very low defect rate of less than one defective part per million (DPPM).

National designed SolarMagic to have a very high reliability by incorporating proper component derating, extensive reliability Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), thermal analysis and pre-qualification reliability testing.

National’s SolarMagic power optimizers have passed rigorous environmental qualification tests such as damp-heat exposure, humidity-freeze cycling and thermal cycling used for PV module qualifications. In addition, they have successfully undergone electronic-systems reliability qualification tests such as high temperature operating life tests, power temperature cycling and highly accelerated life tests (HALT). Data from more than two thousand hours of reliability stress testing of SolarMagic power optimizers demonstrated an MTBF of 455 years.

National manufactures critical analog IC components for SolarMagic power optimizers at its in-house wafer-fabrication plants and assembly facilities, where they are subjected to enhanced quality manufacturing flows. In addition, the power optimizers undergo stringent quality control during the system assembly process. Comprehensive tri-temperature testing and burn-in tests are performed on all production units, virtually eliminating any potential early life failures.

In addition to rigorous internal testing, Santa Clara, Calif.- based Ops a La Carte LLC provided reliability testing of National’s SolarMagic power optimizer at its HALT and HASS Labs in Santa Clara. Ops a La Carte has had a long-term presence in the reliability field, conducting extensive reliability testing for the aerospace, automotive, medical, telecom, defense and energy (including fuel cell, oil and solar) industries.

Using distributed electronics throughout a solar installation, SolarMagic recoups up to 57 percent of energy lost due to real-world conditions. SolarMagic power optimizers will be available to customers in North America and Europe in late May 2009. For more information about SolarMagic, visit www.solarmagic.com.

About National Semiconductor:
National Semiconductor is a leader in analog power management technology. Its products include easy-to-use integrated circuits, PowerWise products that enable more energy-efficient systems, and SolarMagic products which improve the energy output of solar arrays. The company celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., National reported sales of $1.89 billion for fiscal 2008. Additional information is available at www.national.com.