DC connectors - Clones, cheap copies & catastrophic outcomes

Another sleeping giant in my view when it comes to solar assets, is DC Connectors.

Often referred to as ‘MC4 connectors’, although this is the original brand name of Staubli, these plastic moulded components are costing asset owners big-style in the asset lifetime.

2DegreesKelvin have seen a range of different types of these connectors having now inspected over 120 solar farms in the UK, many of which don’t even have a brand name on.

We are finding:

  • Installation standards are poor
  • They come in all shapes & sizes, often different types connected together
  • Some are brittle, literally crumbling in our hands
  • Some are suffering from an electro-chemical phenomena (showing a copper blue discharge)
  • Some are causing fires & particularly on rooftop, this can be catastrophic
  • O&M’s are constantly RISO Hunting – searching for earth leakage

Due to this DC connector change out enquires have increased dramatically this year, as this problem starts to mature.

How can this be avoided/minimised?

  1. Procuring good quality connectors
  2. Ensuring installers are suitably trained & use the correct equipment
  3. Minimise the number of connectors
  4. Good cable management