At ambient temperatures above 70°C or altitudes above 2000 meters, the operational requirements of electrical installations vary depending on the climatic conditions. Harsh environments such as deserts or mountains can provide ideal irradiation conditions and space for high-efficiency photovoltaic systems. Mingguan MC4 solar connector portfolio is proven for such applications.
Globally, photovoltaics are also increasingly used in challenging environments. About 35% of the earth’s land surface is desert, and people are starting to think about how to make more efficient use of these areas, which otherwise lack economic potential and sparsely populated areas, such as building photovoltaic power plants in hot and dry deserts such as South America, Africa, Southern Europe and the Middle East.
In addition, high altitudes are also ideal areas for solar power generation. Due to the higher altitude, photovoltaic power plants can generate about 50 % more electricity than in plain areas. Extremely high levels of solar radiation and consistently sunny weather provide optimal conditions for high power generation. In addition to the alpine regions of Europe, in the Andes of South America, more and more photovoltaic power plants are being built above 2000 m above sea level.
Safety Standards for High Temperature Environments
Given the rapid growth of such markets, IEC TC82 technical committee has differentiated in detail the requirements at different ambient temperature ranges and set out to establish new PV modules for application scenarios with operating temperatures up to 70°C (98th percentile) Safety standard IEC 61730-1. For higher ambient temperature applications such as in desert areas, the requirements of IEC TS 63126 will apply.
IEC TS 63126 specifies the thermal requirements for photovoltaic modules and their components, such as photovoltaic junction boxes and photovoltaic connectors, with two different temperature levels. The two categories for PV modules are:
Temperature Class 1: equal to or higher than 80°C (T98th)
Temperature Class 2: equal to or higher than 90°C (T98th).
The minimum requirements for the upper limit temperature (ULT) of photovoltaic connectors are as follows:
ULT for connectors applied on PV modules of class 1: 95°C minimum
ULT for connectors applied on class 2 PV modules: 105°C minimum
Safety Requirements for High Altitudes
The insulation coordination requirements in electrical product safety standards are typically designed for applications up to 2000 meters above sea level. For higher altitude applications, clearance requirements must be revised because lower air pressures reduce the resistance of electrical installations to clearance voltage flashover phenomena. Therefore, the minimum clearance must be multiplied by the correction factor in the IEC 60664-1:2020 table, or verified by a relatively higher test surge voltage.
For more than a decade, the Slocable PV DC connection system has been known for its high reliability and stability. Now, tested and verified by TÜV Rheinland, the Slocable MC4 connector is one of the photovoltaic connector to meet installation requirements in PV systems using module temperature class 2. This means that the Slocable PV connector has been tested and proven to be able to be used in climates up to 105°C.