Weidmuller are offering a range of power saving and customised components to help increase efficiency, simplify plant monitoring and speed up maintenance in the photovoltaic (PV) sector

Owing to their large surface area and exposed installation location, photovoltaic systems can be particularly at risk from atmospheric discharges such as lightning. Resulting damage can cause individual component damage or at its worst, take down the entire system.

An essential part of photovoltaic facility design is to therefore ensure protection from potential lightning discharge or power surges which could destroy critical items such as the inverter. Weidmuller offer a range of surge protection solutions providing facility installers with a turnkey solution for protecting both the DC and AC sides on an inverter. If desired, the housing can also be equipped with a DC load circuit breaker in order to disconnect the photovoltaic facility.

In addition, the IP65 rating also guarantees protection against dust and splash water which means they are well suited for use in outdoor applications.

Based on individual requirements, string boxes can be configured, fully populated with the necessary fuses, terminal blocks and lightning and surge protection components as required, and wired up before they are delivered. If desired, the box can also be delivered with other connector types or cable glands.

Signal protection

Weidmuller’s VARITECTOR SPC product line (above) offers signal protection in photovoltaic applications. The protection element of the module can be removed, measured or replaced during operation without affecting the impedance and without breaking the instrumentation circuit of the wiring.

With the VARITECTOR SPC R, error detection and failure indication are effected via internal monitoring, with a green LED indicating active protection and a red LED standing for failure. This information is forwarded to the V-Control evaluation module. From here it can be signalled, for instance, to a control unit. The V-TEST testing device (above), monitoring the function of VARITECTOR SPC, also facilitates the observance of service intervals and the testing method complies with the IEC 62305 standard. As a result the defective module can be quickly found and replaced. All VARITECTOR SPC products are in compliance with the IEC 61643-21:2008 surge protection product standard and are certified for protection classes D1, C2 and C3.

A VARIETECTOR SPC module can be used instead of a modular terminal when removing the protection module, without affecting the impedance. Four binary or two analogue signals only require 17.8mm of space on the mounting rail. Easy latching onto the earthed rail also saves time during installation. Colour codes mark the different voltage levels of all VARITECTOR SPC modules in the control cabinet thus facilitating service during operation.