The use of solar panels is increasing, and selecting appropriate cables and wires for panel installation is crucial. Regular cables are not suitable for solar panels; photovoltaic (PV) cables are required. PV cables are specifically designed for photovoltaic power generation and are adaptable to all kinds of outdoor conditions, such as hot and cold weather, rain, UV lights, and more.
PV cables were first introduced to the market in the mid-2000s. Although they are relatively new, the solar-energy market is expanding, and new technologies are being introduced every day. Copper or aluminum conductors are the primary materials used in the manufacture of solar cables.
Solid and stranded cables are both available for PV, but stranded wire performance is superior in windy weather. The most prevalent insulation used in solar cables is heat-resistant cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), which provides excellent resistance to UV lights, hot temperatures, weather, and corrosion.
The voltage rating of solar cables can range between 600 V, 1000 V, and 2000 V, depending on the specifics of your photovoltaic panel. However, the photovoltaic wires’ standard operating temperature is 90°C in both wet and dry locations. Copper PV wires are considered superior but are significantly more expensive compared to aluminum cables, which offer excellent performance at a lower cost. It is essential to note that aluminum should not be used in moist or wet environments.
Non-photovoltaic cables are not suitable for solar connectors. The only other cable that may be used is the Underground Service Entrance (USE-2), which can only be utilized in grounded installations to connect the solar terminal to the service equipment. Other kinds of cables such as THHN and Romex should not be used because they are not compatible with solar panels, although they may be used in other components, including solar power connectors.
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