CAPEX vs. OPEX
During the project planning phase of a PV system, the main focus is on the initial costs and largely on the two highest cost items: the solar modules and the power inverters. Connectors as crucial part of the cabling are often put aside even though their careful selection and impact on the bankability of every photovoltaic project are substantial. They have to secure safe and reliable transmission of the power being produced. Without constant connection or due to failure, there is no assured feed-in and, as consequence, reduced profitability as well as less return.
Fig. Investement: Cost are depending on correct and detailled planning,
project dimension and design, construction, location, etc.
The compromise with quality however involves many risks, endangers the return on investment and can quickly turn those short-term savings into substantial losses. These apparently minor components can have a massive and ultimately decisive influence on the risks and on the return on investment respectively the LCOE of the PV project.
Fig. Symbolic representation of the risksthat depend on several factors. they might as well occur simultaneously.
During the project planning phase, it is also absolutely important to take into consideration that the plant engineering is designed for an operational phase often exceeding 25 years. That means that all the components should provide longevity as well as outstanding technical characteristics in order to ensure stable efficiency.
The curve above illustrates how the use of original MC4 connectors can improve the return on investment over the years. Their eminent quality helps reduce risk factors to an absolute minimum, whereas the installation of low-quality connectors might have severe consequences on the PV plant as a whole. Wrong connector selection can lead to higher operating and maintenance expenses (OPEX) and lower energy yield over time (>25 years).