TE Connectivity, a manufacturer of connectivity and sensor devices, has introduced the SOLARLOK PV Edge, a new-generation junction box designed for bifacial and half-cut solar panel applications.
The company says this new junction box has several advantages over centralized junction boxes, such as enabling savings in cross-connect foil material usage, in labor involved in routing the foils, and in installation time. Shorter cross-connect foils and reduced dimensions of the junction box also increase the efficiency of the panels.
The SOLARLOK PV Edge junction box can be used for all glass type panels but is particularly aimed at building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels, bifacial solar panels and half-cell solar panels.
TE’s new junction box addresses specifically edge-mount applications that enable them to be adhesively bonded onto the solar panels, eliminating the need for hole drilling, which is part of its cost and time savings. An edge flap, which protects the exposed foil exiting the edge of the panel, rides in tracks molded into the junction box; this allows the flap to accommodate a wide range of panel thicknesses and tolerances. The bottom surface of the junction box has a special finish to improve the bond to the glass or back sheet. No prior treatment with a primer or corona is necessary.
In use, the SOLARLOK PV Edge increases the efficiency of the solar panel as it is applied to the edge of the panel and its low profile creates less shade on the panel, increasing its output. The diode is welded to reduce electrical resistance and improve overall system performance, and is housed in a separate compartment to improve thermal transfer for a higher reliability.
TE’s SOLARLOK PV Edge junction box can be configured with foil contacts that accept foil in either a “north-south” or “east-west” orientation. It has a rated current of 15A or 17A, depending on the application requirements, and an operating temperature range of minus 40 degrees Celsius to 115 degrees Celsius. Protection levels are IP65 and IP67.