Solar Panels Installation: The Electrical Boxes
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Solar Panels Installation: The Electrical Boxes

Solar Panels Installation: The Electrical Boxes

  • load center / combiner box
  • AC disconnect
  • performance meter
  • order of boxes


Published: August 21, 2016 1 0 532
By: John Paul Dulay, Cal Poly Pomona
Category: Renewable Energy
Hashtags: #electricals #Engineering #GridAlternatives #photovoltaics #Renewableenergy #Solar

Once again, I recently put aside a few hours of my summer out under the sun helping the Grid Alternatives Inland Empire team in a PV installation in Fontana. Over the course of this two-day installation, I stayed away from the roof and, instead, kept myself involved in the activities of the ground team. I focused on learning about the load center box, the AC disconnect box, and the performance meter box and how to wire them. In a nutshell, these boxes manage the generated current flowing from the arrays of solar panels into the main service electrical box of the house. As sets of hot, neutral, and ground wires come down from the panels, they first go through the load center box or, as other electricians call it, the combiner box that 'combines' sets of wires from multiple solar arrays into a single set of wires which will snake through the adjacent boxes. Next, this combined set of wires travels through the AC disconnect box that basically acts as an on and off switch of the PV system. Then, the set of wires passes through the performance meter that reads how much power in kWh the system generates. Finally, our wires meet up with the other electrical connections of the house in the main service box. In summary, from the solar array to the main service, the PV system boxes are connected in series as follows: load center > AC disconnect > performance meter. Note that the order of connection of these boxes are critical and other arrangements will jeopardize the PV system.
#GridAlternatives #solar #renewableEnergy #photovoltaics #engineering #electricals


Kindra Ericksen