A minimal investment in high-quality components can have a big impact on a project’s bankability, improving the safety and efficiency of an installation and protecting its long-term health. The connectors and cabling in a solar PV system have always been vital to its safety and performance, even though they typically make up just 1.5 to 2 percent of the total overall cost of a project.
The component cost savings realized by choosing low-quality alternatives are rarely more than 20 to 25 percent, which means electing to use cheaper cables and connectors will typically only affect the total overall cost of a project by less than 0.005 percent. But saving a few dollars in the short-term could greatly increase a project’s operations and maintenance costs over the life of the system.
The down time and system production losses associated with connector or cabling failures can quickly turn those short-term savings into substantial losses. This, and the inherent safety risks to property and personnel associated with faulty electrical components, make such a small savings a poor investment over the long-term.
The notion of bankability addresses the idea that high-quality components will improve the life and efficiency of a project, significantly increasing the project’s return on investment (ROI). It also means that a small upfront investment will decrease the risk of fire and electrical shock, helping protect a company’s people, its production and its investments.
As a pioneer and global market leader for connectors, Stäubli Electrical Connectors (formerly Multi-Contact) has amassed more than 20 years of experience in the PV industry. During this time, more than 120 GW of PV power, or more than 50 percent of the PV power worldwide, has been installed using more than 1.23 billion of the company’s connectors.
Our MC4 connector portfolio is widely considered to have the highest bankability rating available on the market. The original MC4 connectors are used by the world’s top 10 PV module producers. Its proprietary MULTILAM technology mitigates power loss due to resistance heating thanks to a patented design that features multiple contact points to improve connection and energy transfer. Those incremental gains can have a huge impact over the lifetime of an installation, saving the energy grid from substantial power loss and maintenance issues in the process. The MC4’s design also significantly improves the safety of an installation.
Along with the reliability and proven long-term performance of our proprietary MULTILAM technology in PV applications, the MC4 is constructed of the best materials and production processes available. It is a common cost-cutting practice in the industry to use reground plastic materials in insulators and housings, which inevitably builds weakness and unpredictability into the product. MC4 connectors are made only with 100 percent virgin plastic materials and are assembled by precision automation equipment that inspects each part for consistency and reliability.
The MC4 connectors have emerged as the industry leader because of the superior bankability they bring to a project. By reducing energy waste and improving safety and efficiency, high-quality components are improving the ROI of PV installations worldwide and making solar a more attractive energy investment.