Following the successful introduction of the SolarSpec Junction Box for automated installation on the back of silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, Molex Incorporated introduces a junction box designed specifically to meet the growing demand for solar thin-film photovoltaic (PV) panels. The SolarSpec Junction Box from Molex provides the interface between the conductor ribbons on the PV module and the external DC I/O cables.
“Due to the growing demand of renewable energy sources, the production of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced dramatically in recent years. To reach critical mass and realise economies of scale, the photovoltaic solar industry is now looking into new and innovative ways to increase manufacturing efficiency,” says Peter Commane, product manager Molex Incorporated. “Thin-film solar technology, though still with relatively low efficiency rates, is extremely cost-effective to produce and is expected to grow to over 30 percent of available solar panel wattage by 2013. By providing an accurate interface for automated feed, positioning and attachment to the back sheet, or laminated layer, on the PV panel, assembly time and production costs can be reduced significantly.”
The SolarSpec Thin-Film Junction Box is compatible with the three main types of thin-film solar cells on the market; amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). The spring beam terminals have been specially designed to make contact with the conductive ribbons on the panel, with a depth range of between 3.70 and 7.25mm, thus allowing the box to be used with a range of laminate thicknesses. Optional patented Solder Charge™ Technology facilitates high-speed assembly and eliminates the need for hand-soldering of the ribbon, thus significantly reducing any process variation.
The moulded PPO (Polyphenylene Oxide) housing of the SolarSpec Thin-Film Junction Box is a proven material for the solar industry; resistant to variations in temperature and UV rays. The compact dimensional profile can supply current ratings comparable to traditional larger products. The SolarSpec Junction Box assembly is supplied with two removable DC cables available in dual-qualified (TÜV and UL) or single-qualified (TÜV) options. The junction box contains bypass diodes to protect the PV panel from reverse current during hours of darkness, shade or when covered by leaves or other debris. The junction box contains a diode in the base assembly. The ergonomic internal Molex design ensures even flow of pottant material, which significantly contributes to the water tight total solution. The top cover is secured to the base by means of locking latches. The indented profile on the cover also helps to compress the pottant as the latches engage, thus considerably reducing the risk of any residual air bubbles.