US Firm Offers Large-Scale DC Solar Collection System Using Aluminium Wire

US Firm Offers Large-Scale DC Solar Collection System Using Aluminium Wire
Aluminum Harness Black and Red Source: Eaton

Power-management company Eaton announced a new direct-current collection system that reduces costs and installation time in large-scale solar projects by, among other innovations, use of aluminium wire.

The new Crouse-Hinds® series is expected to lower labor and material costs by up to fifteen percent. Eaton’s Sunnector DC collection system utilizes aluminium throughout and is for use with five megawatt and larger grid-tied solar photovoltaic projects that use a fixed tilt ground mount racking design.

“Eaton is helping to advance grid parity by reducing costs and improving the reliability of large-scale solar installations,” said Eaton’s solar marketing manager Tony Gulrajani. “The new DC collection system incorporates Eaton connection technology for copper and aluminum termination that has been fielded for more than 50 years in harsh, outdoor environments.”

Eaton’s new system allows solar collection installers to utilize aluminium wire, which is cheaper and lighter than copper, yet provides the same performance. Eaton says that the cost savings in using aluminium correlate with string length, and the aluminium system they have designed is intended for application where string length is longer rather than shorter. The system allows installers to use copper-based tools for field terminations as well.

Eaton’s DC collection system includes combiner box configurations for up to 24 strings at 30 amperes (A) and 12 strings at 60A, with operating voltages of 1,000 volts (V) DC. The firm’s combiner boxes include National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 4X, 4 or 3R enclosures with or without disconnects, surge protection, knockouts and pre-installed glands.

Eaton’s combiners are designed, tested, and listed to the Underwriters Laboratories® (UL) 1741 standard for reliable connection to the utility grid. The firm’s harnesses are listed to UL9703 and 6703. The aluminium-based solution also meets Canadian Standards Association® (CSA) c22.2 standard.

Based in Syracuse, New York, Eaton employs approximately 97,000 employees and has customers in over 175 countries. The firm’s 2015 sales were US$20.9 billion.