Solar PV eBOS Buyer’s Guide 2020
We asked wire management and electrical component providers to tell us about their latest and greatest products (inverters will be broken out into their own Buyer’s Guide next month). Trends in eBOS components right now include AC combiners, above ground cable management and heavy-duty clamps. Check them all out below.
Above Ground Cable Management
Solar Snake Max is Snake Tray’s new patented cable management system for utility grade installations. The easy snap together components maintain NEC 310.15 code compliant cable separation. Construction cycle times and material costs will substantially decrease with this new innovative approach to managing high voltage cables.
- No need to derate cables with code compliant cable separation.
- Installs quickly with snap together components, no tools or field fabrication required
- Quickly mounts with messenger wire or aluminum rails to any style of vertical pilings or poles
- Maintains code compliant separation of power cables up to 2KV which saves on cable cost and materials
- Made in the United States
The CAB Solar Cable Management System utilizes hangers suspended from messenger wire to carry cabling in grid-scale solar fields. There are both a standard system, which uses galvanized messenger wire, and a patented integrated grounding system that utilizes a copper composite messenger wire which has the ability to be used as an ECG and GEC. There is an engineering evaluation on the grounding capabilities to make sure it matches your system’s needs, and the system is listed by ETL to UL 2703.
What’s cool? CAB’s integrated grounding system is saving labor and product costs and making solar power even more affordable. Its patented design allows the system to both manage cabling using messenger wire above ground to suspend hangers and support cabling and provide a grounding solution.
The Solar Locking Clamp from HellermannTyton has an integrated fir tree mount that fits the predrilled holes of most solar modules. Low insertion force is all that’s needed to mount the clamp, reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries on installers’ hands. The design enables installers to insert one to several cables and then close and lock the clamping mechanism. It is manufactured of high impact modified, heat-resistant, UV stabilized material, which is ideal for long-term performance in the full range of weather and climate extremes.
What’s cool? The Solar Locking Clamp is designed with single-axis trackers in mind, to provide exceptional extraction resistance, even under constant load movement. Since installers sometimes need a way to add a routing later, the clamp head includes a saddle to attach a Solar Tie without resorting to using a metal module hole.
The WILEY WCH1 cable hanger is designed specifically to support cables by securing to mounting holes or wire management holes in the module frame. The WCH1 is compatible with all common module frame geometries including on First Solar Series 6 modules. Stainless steel construction ensures that this is a solution made to last for the lifetime of an installation and the round cross-section of the hanger ensures that cable insulation is protected from chafing in high wind and tracker applications. The compact 1” diameter bundle compartment securely holds runs of up to 6 to 8 wires of up to 8 mm in diameter without allowing for significant shifting due to tracker movement or wind.
In-line fuses, cables, connectors
The BLA from Shoals is a pre-manufactured, plug-n-play solution that provides a means of transmitting power from the solar panel to the inverter, eliminating the combiner boxes and trenching used in underground solutions. The solution is unique in that it is the first and only above-ground, patent-pending system that does not require combiner boxes or in-array trenching. The BLA is constructed with Shoals’ Proprietary Undermold/Overmold molding compounds. Being able to transition from a small gauge Cu connection to a more economically priced feeder cable assembly provides unprecedented optimization.
What’s cool? Feedback received from over 9 GW of BLA deployed globally shows that labor savings in the field have recouped up to 62.5 percent of the initial product cost prior to substantial completion, and that the minimal O&M has translated into even greater savings from an OPEX perspective. Considering the expansive growth in the PV market, coupled by the labor scarcity in North America, the BLA is the perfect solution to both.
SolarBOS Wire Solutions include all conductors connecting the PV strings with the DC combiner(s) or string inverter(s). They include: Wire Harnesses (also called Source Circuit Overmolds), Source Circuit Conductors, and Combiner Box Whips. All SolarBOS Wire Solutions are manufactured to customer specifications, reducing on-site assembly and minimizing site waste. The choice of connectors, wire color, conductor size, and custom labels make the installation efficient and cost effective.
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MC4 is the most widely used connector with a proven track record of reliability since 2002, and over 260 GW connected and counting, making Stäubli a bankable supplier. MC4 connectors are made with Swiss craftsmanship and assembled in the United States with the highest quality inspection. Factory provided tooling is required by UL for field assembly for MC4 connectors to not only guarantee the best performance but also safety. Using improper crimping tools on MC4 connectors can lead to big problems.
SolarBOS AC Combiners are designed specifically for PV systems, giving integrators the option to combine multiple string inverter outputs more effectively than breaker panels. They are designed specifically for supply as opposed to load applications. Breakers are good when there are variable loads, but in solar applications, loads are not variable and sources are current limited. Bi-directional fuses and their high interrupt rating are another key benefit of implementing fuses rather than breakers in AC Combiners.
What’s cool? SolarBOS supported solar projects combining as many as 36 string inverters with a single AC combiner. With the eye on future needs of the industry, SolarBOS AC Combiners are listed to UL-508A standard, with the ability to incorporate listed 800VAC components.
Phoenix Contact’s new TRIO Solar DC-to-DC power converter connects directly to 1500V utility-scale solar arrays. The TRIO Solar converts high voltages DC to 24 VDC, eliminating the costs and hassle of trenching to supply power for combiner, re-combiner, and other monitoring applications. The TRIO Solar is part of a family of wide DC voltage input range DC-to-DC power converters with models suitable for 1000V and 1500V nominal array voltages.
What’s cool? The TRIO Solar can be wired in parallel with the user of a decoupling diode for higher current applications and combined with a UPS for reserve power applications. When used with the recommended surge protection, Array Power is covered by the Phoenix Contact Limited Lifetime Warranty, ensuring the array’s operational reliability.
Eaton’s close-coupled AC recombiner design reduces space requirements, materials and installation time. The solar recombiner integrates cable management, circuit breakers or fuse protection, and a disconnect all within one enclosure. The solution is available with many component integration possibilities, including metering, relays, dry-type transformers and more. Configurations are suitable for pour-in concrete pad installation or skid mounting. Additionally, Eaton can customize electrical system packages to specific requirements, including the physical dimensions and location of the building or installation.
What’s cool? By integrating circuit protection and a disconnect all within one enclosure, you can simplify on-site equipment coordination and installation labor. The customizable platform can be configured for AC circuit breakers, main breakers and fusible switches to meet your unique requirements. And, to reduce installation complexity, the design offers close-coupling to Eaton liquid filled transformers.
Clamps, clips and fasteners
Heyco’s SunRunner series consists of a number of wire management clips that support the residential, commercial & utility scale markets. The unique spring retention tab incorporated in many of the clips allows for superior side-to-side cable retention, which helps prevent sagging over time in extreme environments. Heyco offers multiple orientations for each clip to allow for cable routing either perpendicular or parallel to the panel. These clips are offered in either a very robust 304 or 316 grade stainless steel, which allows Heyco to offer a 20 year warranty on these clips.
What’s cool? The 90-2 SunRunner clip is a fan favorite as it allows for either one or two cables ranging from .20” to .33” in diameter to be safely secured to the flange of a solar panel ranging from .03” to .13” in thickness. These clips are easy to install but feature barbs to ensure they won’t pull of the panel once secured. Parts are also tumbled to remove sharp edges, alleviating any concerns from installers for cable abrasion over time.
The WILEY ACC-ECT Edge Clip with Cable Tie is an optimal solution used to route cable bundles without requiring mounting holes or any additional hardware. The ACC-ECT clip is a nylon-encased plated steel clip that installs onto the module frame flange and allows a cable tie to be routed in both landscape (on the horizontal/perpendicular portion of the module frame) and the portrait (on the vertical/parallel portion of the module frame) orientations. The ACC-ECT clip is available in UV resistant, high-impact, heat-stabilized nylon 6/6 and nylon 12 material. Nylon 12 versions are especially suitable in high moisture, corrosive environments or where low temperatures are a factor.
The Ratchet P-Clamp family from HellermannTyton is a growing range of heavy-duty clamping fasteners that mimic a standard P-clamp but feature a flexible hinge and size-adjustable closure mechanism. This eliminates the need to bend metal clamps, and greatly reduces the extensive part inventory compared to using standard P-clamps and brackets. The plastic body is made of high impact modified, heat-resistant, UV stabilized material for long-term performance outdoors. Mounting plates are available in a corrosion resistant zinc-coated version as well as a more resilient stainless-steel option that will not react with dissimilar metals.
What’s cool? Ratchet P-Clamp is the only clamp and mounting bracket combination with an adjustable mechanism to fit a range of cable sizes from 0.24″ to 2″ with just four parts. Multiple mounting options add further versatility. When bundle maintenance is necessary, the clamp can be opened easily and reclosed without having to unmount it.
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