What is a combiner box?

Learn about combiner boxes as part of our solar PV system DISCOVER SERIES. Read the first part of the DISCOVER SERIES about solar panels if you haven’t or our second post about solar inverters if you have not. Now back to solar mounting and racks.

  • Combiner boxes are used to clump cables together

  • They act as the inbetween solar panels and solar inverter

  • Smaller rated PV systems may not require a combiner box

Introduction to combiner boxes

A combiner box houses all the wiring from the solar panels and collectively outputs them into a single connection, allowing cables to be neat and tidy. The single output then goes to an inverter or charge controller, depending on the solar PV system design. Combiner boxes naturally positioned after a string or an array of solar panels.

Why are combiner boxes so important?

Within a combiner box, we’ll find a section to place and connect circuit breakers. By installing circuit breakers into combiner box allows a layer of safety. Circuit breakers is “an automatically operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by excess current from an overload or short circuit. Its basic function is to interrupt current flow after a fault is detected” according to Wikipedia.

combiner box solar pv system 2

What else can you find in a combiner box?

Apart from circuit breakers, combiner boxes also provide grounding or surge protection devices which adds an additional layer of safety. In the event of a shorting or overload caused by any excess current, the circuit breaker would halt the excess current from reaching the solar inverter or charge controllers.

Don’t worry if you do not find that your solar PV system may not have a combiner box as its usually utilized for larger solar PV projects and certain residential solar projects may not need to include a combiner box. Whereby it is sufficient to connect a small residential solar PV project directly to a solar inverter instead.

combiner box solar pv system 2

Conclusion

With that, we conclude this part of the DISCOVER SERIES on combiner boxes. Don’t forget to ask for workmanship warranty if you’re having a solar PV installed. It would be advisable to get an extended warranty or a coverage plan if possible for your solar PV system– it’s worth it. Until next time and thank you for reading!

The views expressed by the author, Michael Leong, are of the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which he have been, am now, or will be affiliated.

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