With increased pressure to reduce costs while increasing efficiency, solar designers and developers started looking for new ways and different ideas to keep their profit margins balanced and improve productivity.
Solar designers and developers have found that evolving to a 4.6GW 1500V design for utility-scale systems from the current 1000V systems has many benefits.
There are four key advantages to upgrading systems that lead to overall cost savings and efficiency gains:
- Less strings and cable length
- Less DC junction boxes
- Less wiring and trenching
- Less labor needed
The typical 1000V solar modules have a voltage rating from 36 to 37 volts. In order to form a string of 1000V you would need close to 27 modules in a series compared to 42 modules for a 1500V system.
For a power plant keeping its power output fixed, making this change to less strings for 1500V can lower costs by as much as $0.05 per watt.
NEW UL REQUIREMENTS FOR PV INDUSTRY
In response to the growing need of the photovoltaic (PV) industry for higher-voltage PV systems, UL has also recently published requirements for the evaluation and certification of 1500V PV modules. The requirements examine the construction of the PV module, junction box, cables, and connectors as per UL 1703 and address potential electrical hazards associated with the increased voltage.
Changes to UL 1703 will be followed by alterations to connector standards and harmonization of inverter standards (which already enable 1500V DC certification) to international standards. This change required Circuit Assembly to develop a 1500V connector to keep pace with this new developing voltage requirement.
THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF 1500V SYSTEMS
1500V systems are currently only beneficial at utility-scale power plant systems and not on rooftop scales.
However, with increased awareness and further reduction of cost, in conjunction with the availability of material, 1500V systems will likely experience a meteoric rise in the near future. 1500V systems should see an increased market penetration of around 95% in the next decade.
Important components of a 1500V system migration include the corresponding 1500V solar connectors. Learn more about CA's 1500V solar connectors, including spedifications, drawings, and more.