A distribution board specifically designed for use in commercial PV applications and a fireman’s switch that allows PV installations to be safely isolated in an emergency, are among the new products that Eaton is showing on the Solar Hub at Ecobuild 2012.

These new introductions are complemented by existing Eaton PV switching and control products, including the company’s integrated PV Switch and Surge Unit.

With Eaton’s new PV-DB distribution boards, multiple single- and three-phase inverters can be connected in parallel easily and safely – a common requirement in commercial PV installations rated at 20kW and above. The boards also incorporate an MID-certified kWh meter and a four-pole rotary isolator, as well as offering protection options in line with ENA ER G59/2. This means all of the essential switching, metering and protection requirements for medium-sized PV systems are met by a single pre-wired and fully tested assembly, making installation fast and easy, and ensuring that regulatory standards are always met.

The SOL30-Safety fireman’s switches that Eaton is also showing for the first time provide isolation of the feed from PV panels to the inverter in the event of any emergency, or as an aid to carrying out maintenance. The switches are normally operated manually, but also include an under voltage release that can be used to ensure that the PV panels are isolated automatically if the fire service cuts the mains supply to the building where the PV system is installed.

For safety reasons and to aid maintenance, solar PV installations must always include a DC isolator for power coming from the solar panels and an AC isolator for power flowing from the inverter. Surge protection devices are also recommended for both the DC and AC circuits. In the past, these requirements have usually been met using devices mounted in separate enclosures – a cumbersome approach that unnecessarily extends the time taken to install and wire a system and adds additional cost.

Eaton’s combined PV Switch & Surge Unit, developed in conjunction with Solarcentury, solves this problem by providing DC and AC isolators and surge protection devices pre-wired in a single compact enclosure. As a result, there is only one unit to install and the amount of wiring needed on-site is minimised. Installation and wiring time is further reduced by the provision of ready fitted terminals and glands for other connections, while safety is enhanced by the use of industry standard solar connectors for the wiring from the solar panels.

To complement the products on show, experts from Eaton and Solarcentury are making a series of presentations in the Solar Hub. Eaton’s experts will also be available throughout the exhibition to provide visitors with advice and guidance on devising solutions for specific applications, with the emphasis on combining safety, performance and convenience with value for money.