High performance edge connectors

Paul Boughton

A new edge connector for solar panels is available from Multi-Contact. The slimline PV-JB/BF junction box can be mounted on the edge of the panel without obscuring any solar cells. Where the panel is intended for architectural use, this enables the connector and cabling to be hidden within the facade frame.

Suitable for module thicknesses between 5 and 9mm, the unit uses Multi-Contact's industry standard MC4 connector system and has four bus ribbon connectors.

The heat management of the PV-JB/BF allows a bypass current of 17A with ribbons not exceeding 90˚C, which reduces degradation of the EVA encapsulant.

Another connector is the MC4-EVO 2, which minimises power losses thanks to an exceptionally high current carrying capacity of up to 69A. Its high voltage rating of up to 1500 V dc also means that longer series strings can be used in PV arrays on large-scale solar projects.

Suitable for cable cross-sections between 4mm2 and 10mm2 (12 to 8AWG), the connector has a polyamide casing with improved impact resistance and enhanced sealing. Ammonia and salt spray resistance also enables operation in harsh environments.

Also available is the MC4-EVO AC three-pole AC connector for use with micro or nano PV inverters. Designed for module level and string level applications, its low profile allows it to fit within the panel framework, enabling modules to be stacked without the use of spacers.

With a current carrying capacity of up to 32A, it has a rated voltage of 600V AC (UL) and 400V AC (IEC). Accepted cable cross-sections range from 1.5mm2 to 4mm2.