Factors to Consider when Buying Wire and Cable for Solar PV Applications

Although, solar wire panels are an important aspect, it is still rarely discussed. When it comes to home solar power systems, there are four main parts to connect them all together: solar panels, charge controller, batteries and inverter. The charge controller is used for not letting the batteries overload, the wires that connect the panel for the controller charged should be of accurate size for minimizing the transmission power loss. The farther the panels are, the larger the wire gauge must be.

The inverter converts the DC power being accumulated by the panels into the AC power which is the most famous form of electricity being accepted by the appliances. These systems are installed outdoors so any cable being used for this application needs to be Ultra violet radiation proof and ideal for wet locations as well. When it comes to solar cable, they must always be flexible as the panels will move in the direction of the sun but apart from being water and UV rays proof, the cables must be able to tolerate extremely high temperatures. Here are other factors to consider.

  1. Standards

Both US (Underwriter Lab or UL) and Germany (Technischer Uberwachungs-Verein or TUV) have approvals for wires that can be used in photovoltaic applications. UL has two approvals: USE-2 and type V. the standard approval for photovoltaic applications was USE-2. But there is more demand for solar power, so UL came up with UL type PV approval for meeting the needs. USE-2 and type PV are very similar but they have their own differences. The latter can be used in both grounded as well as ungrounded PV arrays and is rated +90 degrees C wet and +150 degrees C dry. Although, USE-2 is ideal for grounded PV arrays per NEC, it has a +90 degrees wet and dry rating. Apart from better temperature and voltage bearing, type PV wires have better sunlight, flame resistance, low temperature flexibility, thicker insulation and a lot more.

  1. Fire performance

Albeit the danger of fire propagation in outdoor settings like solar plants is not such a great risk for the people’s safety, a good fire performance is a must need in order to protect the technical equipment itself. The document also mentions a flame propagation test on the completed cable on the basis of IEC 60332.1.