What is an MC4 Connector?
MC4 Connectors are the most common solar module clip in Australia. The abbreviation stands for "Multi-Contact 4 mm" and is the go-to connector for all domestic WINAICO modules. With the introduction of the new MC4 Evo2 module connectors, we would like to explain the difference compared to the Genuine MC4 connectors.
But probably the question you came to look at this blog post for:
And YES, Genuine MC4 connectors can be used with the MC4 Evo2*
*As long as both connectors are manufactured by Staubli and the module is rated for 1000 Volts. The New Gemini Modules use the MC4 Evo2 connectors but are currently rated at 1000 Volts and are still compatible with the Genuine MC4 Connectors.
The Gemini modules will upgrade to 1500 Volts later in 2021 and will not be compatible with the previous genuine MC4 connectors after the module rating is changed.
Genuine MC4 Connector
Staubli designed a unique connector that was rapidly adopted in the solar industry. The waterproof and reliable electrical connector proved to be a installer favorite with ease of use and dependability.
All of WINAICO's modules in Australia generally use MC4 clips for simple and easier use for our installation partners.
MC4 Evo2 Connectors
The MC4 Evo2 is a new additional to the MC4 range by Staubli, addressing the higher voltage output of the new larger modules.
The Evo2 model is almost identical in function and installation as the previous model, but is rated at 1500 Volts which is common for the larger 350+ W modules in the market today.
What is the Difference between the Genuine MC4 and MC4 Evo2?
The MC4 Evo2 is designed to handle higher voltage module ratings than the Genuine MC4, managing the more modern 1500 Volts commercial modules.
The other factors are are almost entirely the same. The material, manufacturer and overall function are identical. The clipping mechanism is also identical, allowing both Genuine and Evo2 connectors to combine seamlessly. The Evo2 does a different design, encompassing more polished features and rib-cage structure on the outside.
Why Can You Use Both Connectors on the Same System?
Connectors must be identical to be valid for installation in Australia. Certain manufacturers will use different connectors as part of their modules and cabling must be identical and the onus falls on the installer to find the correct terminal.
Staubli have been granted the only exception to the solar connector conformity rule. Below is an extract from the CEC Tech Bulletin from the 14th of January 2020 (Document in References below):
"...the MC4 and the MC4-EVO-2 are both manufactured by Staubli and the manufacturer states they are of the same type (MC4) and compatible for connection, the requirements of the clause (same type from same manufacturer) are met when mating these plug connectors."
As long as connectors on the solar module are Staubli MC4, the connectors on the installation wiring are Staubli MC4 and the system voltage is less than 1000V on the module, both the Genuine and Evo2 can be wired together.
The following image is an extract from the Energy Safe Victoria Guide further reinforcing the compatibility:
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