2.0 Photovoltaic Laboratory Equipment

This section begins with consideration of all of the photovoltaic-specific components that are part of a complete PV system (see table below). Major electrical components include PV modules, inverters, batteries, charge controllers, and generators. Electrical and mechanical BOS components and hardware are also included.

Importance ratings have arbitrarily been assigned for each component based on observations of highly functional PV training facilities that have been in operation for many years. Rather than place too much emphasis on these ratings, faculty and lab developers are encouraged to set equipment priorities based on the educational objectives and desired outcomes for their particular courses and programs.

Note: It is strongly emphasized that listed examples of possible manufacturers and/or suppliers do not in any way constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Rather, readers are strongly encouraged to use Internet search engines to identify manufacturers and suppliers of the equipment listed. For most products, numerous options will be found.

PV ModulesCrystalline silicon modules – both mono and polycrystallineEssential
Thin-film modulesDesirable
Inverters Residential string inverters – including integrated and transformerless invertersEssential
Micro invertersEssential
Residential battery-based invertersDesirable
Small commercial grid-tied InvertersAdvanced
Medium commercial grid-tied invertersAdvanced
Batteries and Power Processing HardwareFlooded lead-acid batteriesDesirable
Valve-regulated lead-acid batteriesDesirable
Charge controllersDesirable
Battery chargersDesirable
Electrical Balance-of-System HardwareElectrical service equipmentEssential
PV array combiner boxesEssential
Fuses and breakersEssential
Miscellaneous electrical BOS hardwareAs required
Conductors and Wiring HardwareModule interconnect cables and connectorsEssential
Grounding hardwareEssential
Terminals and connectorsAs required
PV wire and cableEssential
Conduit and bendersAdvanced
Mechanical and Structural HardwareArray mounting hardwareEssential
Flashings and supportsEssential
Miscellaneous mounting hardwareEssential
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