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A short history of the PV connector

With over 15 years’ experience in the field, Multi-Contact is a leading provider of dependable connector systems for photovoltaic installations. The company’s pre-assembled connectors, cables, and junction boxes allow for quick and easy connection on-site, while the cable couplers are fully touch-protected and designed for high voltage and high current-carrying capacity. It’s safe to say that there are few companies out there more qualified to give us the lowdown on the evolution of the technology…

While the first connectors for photovoltaic (PV) installations were primarily designed for functionality, today they meet a variety of application-specific requirements. By now, there are complete connection solutions, including junction boxes, connectors and cables. In any case, safe and efficient electrical contacts are the beginning and end of the story.

In the early 1990s, photovoltaic cables were connected using screw terminals or splice connectors. With the increasing number of installed systems, the need arose for a fast, safe, and easy-to-handle connection solution – a plug-in connector.

From splice to plug connectors
The specific requirements of PV installations did not allow the use of standard industrial connectors. Exposed to wind, sun and rain as well as often extreme temperature variations, the connectors have to be suitable for harsh environments. They should not only be watertight and resistant to temperature, UV and ozone, but also touch-protected, with high current carrying capacity as well as efficient, with low contact resistance – all this throughout the entire lifecycle of the installation, at least 20 years.

Based on these requirements, Multi-Contact developed the MC3, one of the world’s first PV connectors, in 1996. The connector with MC Multilam became widely accepted by the rapidly evolving market, defining the international standard for PV connectors.


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