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PV connectors: proven interchangeability

With the steady growth of solar power and the increase of PV plants worldwide, a new series of PV modules, suitable for 1500-Volt systems, is on the rise. The higher demand for the latest, ‘1500 Volt ready’ generation of PV connectors from Stäubli Electrical Connectors, raises the question of the interchangeability of the new MC4-Evo 2 with the Original MC4.

Along with the growth of the worldwide demand for energy and the need for replacing fossil fuel energy generation technologies, the renewable energy sector added 176 GW of power generating capacity globally last year, accounting for 72 percent of all power expansion during that period1. Main drivers behind this growth are the trend toward decarbonization and the overall electrification of appliances and industries. Solar energy contributed with more than 60 percent to this rise as it was able to generate a cost-competitive solution in regard to the needs. Important technology innovations and cost reductions accompany and support this market development that experienced a steady but very fast rise during the last 10 years.

A 1500-Volt PV system design offers investment cost benefits over traditional system designs in large-scale PV plants. This leads to an increase of 1500-Volt systems being implemented during the last couple of years. With this voltage increase, the legal possibilities within the low-voltage directive are fully exploited, and efficiency can be increased to the maximum possible, including all components such as modules, inverters, cabling and connectors.

Based on this extended application range, Stäubli Electrical Connectors also experienced a higher demand on its latest PV connector line MC4-Evo 2. This connector is the logical further development of the broadly well-known Original MC4 PV connector from Stäubli and is especially designed for the use with 1500 Volt PV technology under all global relevant PV standards.

The MC4-Evo 2 PV connector is internationally certified according to IEC, UL, JET. MC4-Evo 2 is suitable for use in harsh environment such as ammonia and salt mist atmosphere. Further requirements such as IP68 or resistance against UV radiation are fully met. Like all Stäubli connectors, the MC4-Evo 2 has been thoroughly challenged in company-own extended test sequences and independent third-party certification bodies. Some of these test procedures and criteria go beyond the thresholds given by UL or IEC. This guarantees high and safe performance as well as reliable operation even in extreme local weather conditions, such as high and low temperatures or strong winds, throughout the product’s lifetime. The core element within MC4-Evo 2 connectors ensuring safe and loss-free power transmission is the unique Stäubli contact technology MULTILAM.

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