TÜV Rheinland: Don`t use crossover PV connections if you want to prevent risks and secure your return of invest

8/18/16, 11:00 AM -

Crossover PV connections from different manufacturers entail a heightened safety risk, TÜV and manufacturer Multi-Contact warn.

Market leader Multi-Contact and TÜV Rheinland say there is a high risk using crossover connectors from different manufacturers.

Olivier Haldi from Global Business Development Photovoltaics at Multi-Contact says: “As a pioneer and global market leader for connectors, Multi-Contact has amassed over 20 years of experience in the photovoltaics industry. During this time, more than 120 GW of PV power, or more than 50% of the PV power worldwide, has been successfully installed worldwide using over 1 billion original MC4 connectors from Multi-Contact. In order to ensure the deciding factors for the long-term success of a PV system and therefore also the necessary financing, the appropriate, bankable project partners for the project must be acquired. Careful selection of bankable products and components to be built into the system is also a core topic, as these exert considerable influence on the bankability of the PV project.

Important long-term operational and maintenance costs

During the project planning phase of a PV system, factoring in the long-term operational and maintenance costs is often neglected. The main focus is on the initial costs and, during the selection process for the various components, largely on the two highest-cost items: the solar modules and the power inverter. The components for the cabling (connectors, junction boxes, cables) play only a minor role in calculations, as they account for less than 1 percent of the initial costs. However, these apparently minor components can have a massive and ultimately decisive influence on the risks and on the return on investment of a PV project. If the wrong decisions are made at this point, operational and maintenance costs as well as the risk of power losses, a (partial) system failure, or even a fire may all increase as soon as the PV system is put into operation."

Major issue cross-fitting

"In this context, cross-fitting is a major issue. Multi-Contact strongly advises against cross-fitting and consistently highlights the associated technical and legal risks. And other authorities, such as the independent testing services provider TÜV Rheinland, also take a position on this matter", Haldi says.

With crossover setup no TÜV and UL approval

TÜV Rheinland states: “There are no MC4-compatible connectors available from other manufacturers. According to research and reports from the field, a crossover connection entails a heightened safety risk. It can lead to a significant increase in electrical resistance, the consequences of which may include increased power loss, melting of the plastic housing, and even fires. The bottom line is that owners and investors are running a higher risk on PV projects, with a lower return on their investment. Additionally, a crossover setup means that TÜV and UL approval will be lost, and responsible individuals like installers, EPC, project managers, etc.) will find themselves on very uncertain ground in terms of legal compliance. In spite of this, some connector manufacturers continue to advertise allegedly compatible products with TÜV certificates on the market. However, TÜV Rheinland clearly distances itself from these claims." (HCN)

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