A growing number of Integra customers are coming from the solar industry, a market that’s seeing lots of change as technology advances and growing pains occur. Solar energy OEMs, integrators and distributors are purchasing or distributing enclosures for a few main types of applications:
- Combiner and junction boxes. Here, the box is simply used as a connection point to bring a number of cables together in a weather-tight location. Sometimes these enclosures are located underground, sometimes above ground.
- Control panels. These boxes typically have controls mounted inside to perform a function. In a solar field they often have controls that track the position of the sun and modulate the angle of the solar panel so it is positioned to receive maximum exposure to the available sunlight. Other enclosures house the invertors that convert the DC voltage produced by the solar panel to AC voltage that can be transitioned to the grid.
- Battery storage. Many enclosures are used to house the storage batteries required in most solar systems. System builders are moving to larger batteries and need a very robust enclosure to support and protect these batteries. The Integra Enclosure is designed to accommodate these larger batteries.
New applications in the solar industry that demand enclosures will soon emerge. The technology is moving at a fast pace and system designs are becoming obsolete as quickly as new designs are replacing them. As large utility companies and small solar systems interact and shape the solar market, it remains to be seen who will emerge as the driving force behind the industry and what that will mean for equipment protection.
Author: Jim McWilliams