0845 758 5070 Login or Register

Quick guide: components for your solar PV system

clock 12 minutes | 03 Feb 2021

Solar PV System components: solar panels and fuse boxes

Solar power technology has advanced impressively while also becoming less expensive. Getting PV panels installed is a perfect way to generate electricity without negatively impacting the environment.

Solar energy equipment, whether for an industrial application of solar energy, commercial or residential, requires you to consider various components to produce a quality system that will last for the 25+ years that customers are expecting.

These include:

  • Cable and wire management products, from UV-resistant cable ties to cable clamps and cable routing clips
  • Protection and finishing solutions, including bolt caps and profile end caps, and cable sleeves and cable wraps
  • PCB hardware for Solar PV inverters, such as fan guards and PCB spacers and PCB supports
  • Access hardware for electronic enclosures, from handles to lock cam types and tamper proof hinges
  • Fasteners for ease of mounting, such as push rivets
  • Liquid-tight components, including cable glands, weather-stripping tape and cable entry systems

Unfortunately, errors in installation and the use of poor-quality components can cause a lot of expensive problems. Customers are often left paying the price for repairs and services, installation teams' reputations suffer, and the solar community ends up looking untrustworthy.

A bad installation of the PV system significantly impacts performance. Not only do the panels have to be placed for maximum exposure to the sun, but they have to be mounted with consideration for extreme weather conditions such as strong winds, which is one of the main causes for damage to the PV system.

This guide is designed to help you make those choices. To further help you, we’ve made free CADs of our solutions available for download. You can also request free samples for most of our products, so you can try before you buy.

Solar PV System: Solar Panels

Ideal components

The basic components of solar PV systems can vary. The equipment needed for solar power depends on the system. What they all will have, however, are panels, mounting equipment, DC-to-AC inverter, wiring and fuse box connections, and a utility power meter. Below are our recommended solar components you’ll need to ensure quality.

Solar panels and fuse box

Solar panels and fuse box

What is needed for a solar panel system: proper cable management, for starters. Panels have to stand up to all environments and endure small animals living underneath them, so correct routing, supporting and organising of your cables is key to protecting them.

​Standard cable ties – locking, weather-resistant

Standard cable ties – locking, weather-resistant

Tough and high quality, these UV-resistant nylon cable ties are designed for outdoor use, wherever heat is present. The built-in lock system prevents accidental removal. Available in minimum loop tensile strengths, ranging from 8kg to 55kg. UL94 V-2.

​Cable straps

Cable straps

Cable management straps with locking button offer high degrees of flexibility. Made from black nylon, it can be wrapped and secured around a number of cables to bundle them together. UL94 HB.

Snap in cable hanger

Cable clamps – snap in cable hanger

Support cables and define their route with cable hanger clamps. Self-mounting and quick to install by hand, simplifying the panel installation process. Fit the strap around a cable and press into the hole. Available in nylon and polypropylene. Cable clamps are available in different styles, materials and mounting types, from adhesive cable clamps to screw-mount cable clamps.

​Stainless-steel cable ties

Stainless-steel cable ties

316 stainless-steel cable ties are self-locking and easily installed by hand, which speeds up the process of installing solar panels and equipment. Resistant to extreme temperatures, with great strength and durability. Available in minimum loop tensile strengths of 45kg to 113kg. UL E309388.

​Edge mount cable tie holder

Edge mount cable tie holder

Made of nylon 6/6 with stainless-steel grip material. A permanent fixing for all sheet-material applications. Also available as an edge clip or with cable tie already installed.

​Self-adhesive cable-tie mounts

Self-adhesive cable-tie mounts

UV-resistant, adhesive mount is positioned without tools for quick installation. Cable ties can be inserted from all four sides. Also comes with a screw fixing for additional support. Our range of cable-tie mounts are available in different mounting options, from push-mount cable ties to screw-mount cable ties. Nylon, UL94 V-2.
​Cable conduit

Cable conduit

Ideal for fuse-box connections. When wiring the DC section of grid-connected PV system components, single conductor cable should be housed in flexible plastic cable conduit. Ours is highly flexible with a high-fatigue life, awarded quality approvals and compliance worldwide. Long cables should be installed in our corrosion- and heat-resistant metal conduit as a surge-protection measure. Our conduit range also supports accessories such as elbows, fittings and clamps. Available in a variety of materials, depending on your needs.

​Conduit edge clips – corrugated tube mounting clip

Conduit edge clips – corrugated tube mounting clip

Conduit accessories, such as corrugated conduit clips, enhance the performance of your cable conduit. These edge clips securely hold corrugated/convoluted tubing or other bundles to your PV mounting structure. Nylon 6/6 with stainless-steel grip.

​Cable clamp – fir-tree mount

Cable clamp – fir-tree mount

Nylon cable clamp that also works as a conduit clamp. The internal rib spanning the diameter of the clamp provides a tight grip. Releasable latch for convenient maintenance. Fir-tree mount accommodates a large range of panel thicknesses compatible with your lightweight PV mounting structure. Nylon 6/6, UV94 V-2.

Cable wraps – spiral

Cable wraps – spiral

Lightweight, cost-effective protection for bundling cables. Crush resistant, flexible and easy to install, they protect against wear against sharp module and mounting structural edges while allowing cables to exit the wrap at any point. Available in PE and heat-stabilised nylon.

​Push-in rivets – fir tree

Push-in rivets – fir tree

Ideal if using rubber mats to help stabilise your mounting structure on rooftops. Fir-tree push rivets have a ribbed design for fast and easy installation with a secure hold in various materials. When pushed into a hole, the flexible ribs deflect, then spring back to lock securely in place. Nylon 6/6, UL94 V-2.

​Bolt head and nut caps

Bolt head and nut caps

LDPE standard bolt caps protect washers, bolts and nuts. The extendable head suits large studs and helps protect against weathering and tampering, while providing a finished appearance. Available in a choice of colour options.

​Square tube inserts and glides

Square tube inserts and glides

Available in a variety of options and styles. Standard square ribbed inserts are ribbed for easy assembly and secure fitting to cover sharp edges. Available in a variety of colours, materials and sizes.

​Square end caps – vinyl

Square end caps – vinyl

PVC end caps are ideal for square profiles, adding a finished look to a solar panel’s tubular mounting rails. These square tubing end caps are flexible and easy to fit.

Solar PV system components: solar charge controller

Enclosure boxes: Controller, DC-to-AC inverter, combiner box, fuse box and utility meter

The controller, or solar charge controller, regulates the voltage and current coming from the solar panels going to the battery. If your solar panels will be off-grid, or each panel puts out about two watts or less for each 50-battery amp-hours, then you don't need a controller.

Here again, your system might not need a PV combiner box. If it’s for a typical home, you won’t. For larger applications, the combiner box consolidates the energy from the panels and sends it to the inverter. If a combiner box isn’t applicable, then you’ll rely on the solar-power-system inverter to take the energy from the solar panels and convert the direct current (DC) into ready-to-use alternating current (AC) to generate power. For residential use, it’s usually placed in the loft or attic, which means it has to stand up to extreme heat.

Solar fuses and circuit breakers protect the wiring of the solar PV system and its components from overheating and catching fire. Like utility meters, your fuse box needs to withstand the elements while preventing tampering.

​Sealing gaskets

Sealing gaskets

Door gaskets and seals are essential for sealing your outdoor electronics cabinet. Sealing gaskets are clip-on profiles that protect against vibrations, ingress of humidity and dirt. Different styles available in EPDM and PVC. Also consider weather-stripping tape, which provides great barrier protection from moisture and air and excellent weather and oxidation resistance, conformability and flexibility at low temperatures.

​IP67 sealing grommets

IP67 sealing grommets

Ideal for external applications, providing a dust and watertight seal. Can act as a blanking plug until a cable is installed. Made of EPDM.

​Cable glands – straight

Cable glands – straight

Designed for superior sealing and strain relief. Cable glands, also known as cord grips, are used to pass cables into an enclosure or control device, controlling the bend or stopping a cable from being pulled out of a system. IP68 rating for excellent protection against the environment. Nylon with TPE inner sealing gland and CR/ NBR outer sealing gland. UL94 V-2.

​Push-in blanking cable plug

Push-in blanking cable plug

Made of black silicone rubber and rated IP67. Designed as a protective cover for cord-grip mounting holes and fitted with a pull tab for an easy grip to remove.

​Quarter-turn latch – spring IP65

Quarter-turn latch – spring IP65

IP65 rated quarter-turn cam lock doubles as a quarter-turn compression latch, ideal for enclosures that need vibration control. Equipped with an internal spring to provide 1.5 mm of compression. An o-ring provides a seal between the spring and the driver. Available in a combination of materials and finishes, and grip range.

​Screw-on concealed hinges

Screw-on concealed hinges

Prevent tampering with concealed hinges, available in multiple styles in steel, stainless steel or nylon. Both left-hand and right-hand application is possible. High-mechanical strength makes these hinges suited to both light and heavy-duty applications.

​Cam latches – lift and turn

Cam latches – lift and turn

Low-profile swing handle stows away when not in use. With a 90˚ rotation, these are simple to install, using either a bracket or snap-in fastener. Also consists of a slam-action spring-loaded handle and can be used either indoors or outdoors. They are ideal for the parts of a solar panel system that house electronics and wiring, such as enclosures of inverters and combiner boxes. Available with a choice of keyed alike, key to differ, or a button to press.

​Plastic one-piece pull handles

Plastic one-piece pull handles

Aluminium zinc-alloy female-arch pull handle is strong and suitable for the enclosure doors of your solar power system or solar inverter.

PCB vertical card guides

PCB vertical card guides

Mount circuit boards in tight spaces and give your PCB stability. Use a vertical card guide or a horizontal one depending on the mounting direction of your printed circuit board design. PCB card guides are easy to install and also used to prevent boards from bending. Some come with adhesive backs while others give you a locking action.

Fan gaskets

Fan gaskets

Protect DC and AC fans suitable for industrial and computing applications by providing a seal between the fan and the mounting bracket. Made of Silicone. Operating temperature range: -70˚C to -150˚C.

​Fan filter sets

Fan filter sets

Fan filter Sets include one each of fan guard to protect fingers, fan filter cover, fan filter mesh sheet and felt filter. IP30 rated for protection from tools and wires greater than 25mm.

LED spacers

LED spacers

Available in three different styles to accommodate both T-1 LEDs and T-1 3/4 LEDs. Provides height control and lead wire retention and stability with self-retaining feature for auto insertion and pre-assembly. Made of PVC. UL94 V-0. Our full range of LED spacers minimise shifting and also includes square spacers.

​PCB standoffs – hexagonal/insulator/nylon & brass

PCB standoffs – hexagonal/insulator/nylon & brass

Provides insulation and protection from electrical transmission, while providing a more secure, stable hold. Installed by hand, without the need for assembly equipment. Ideal for use when high mechanical strength is required and provides sturdy, insulated spacing for high-power electronic applications. Nylon with brass inserts. UL94 V-2.

​Rotary cam switches

Rotary cam switches

Watertight, oil tight and corrosion resistant. Comes complete with a 22mm operator and contact block and meet NEMA 4, 4x, 12, 13 and IP65. Contacts are SPST at 10amps 600vac base-mounted contacts with screw terminals. Conduit knockout holes are 13/16. UL/CSA/CE. ABS plastic enclosures.

​Offset corner hinges

Offset corner hinges

90-degree offset corner hinges come in different profiles to fit a combination of possibilities to offset the door to the frame. Available in stainless-steel hinges and zinc alloy. Also consider concealed hinges, which prevent tampering with your enclosure.

You might also need…

To prevent micro cracks from forming on your solar panels during handling and transportation, use corner and edge protectors.

​Corner protectors

Corner protectors

Cover sharp or delicate corners with your choice of standard, open, expandable, heavy duty, and three-way corner styles. Available in LDPE and PP.

​Edge protectors

Edge protectors

Plastic edge protectors increase stacking strength, stabilize, and support panels during transit, handling, and storage. Available in different styles for protecting plastic strapping and exposed corners. Made in LDPE and PVC.

Solar panels

Download free CADs and try before you buy

Download free CADs and request free samples, which are available for most of our solutions. It’s a great way to ensure you’ve chosen exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which product will work best for your solar-energy application, our experts are always happy to advise you.

Whatever your requirements, you can depend on fast despatch.

Request your free samples or download free CADs now.

Questions?

Email us at sales@essentracomponents.co.uk or speak to one of our experts for further information on the ideal solution for your application 0845 758 5070

DOWNLOAD GUIDE TO SOLAR PV SYSTEM COMPONENTS
The ultimate guide to cable management