Solar Cable: Your 2021 to Know Guide

Over the past couple of years, there is an emphasis on going green. Renewable energy continues to be a mainstay among residential and commercial properties. Among them is solar power, given its abundance and easy installations. Cloom provides you with custom cable and wiring harness technology fit for your property. Part of our service offering includes solar cable. As you read along, you will discover what they are, their applications, and how to procure them through Cloom.

What are Solar Cables?

A solar cable is a conductor that connects your solar panels to the rest of the photovoltaic system. As the sun shines upon the panels, the resulting energy transfers to the battery pack and an inverter changes it to the alternating current that home appliances use. 

Furthermore, these flexible cables feature resistance to harsh environments such as exposure to ultraviolet rays, weather changes, and extreme temperatures. Additionally, it also includes insulation that can withstand the varying voltage classes of the equipment it utilizes.

Finally, your solar cable’s performance requirements adhere to the national and local electrical codes that regulate electrical installations in your area. In addition, the rules that govern grounding regarding electric shock and lighting protection vary depending on your jurisdiction. 

The Solar Energy Cable in Solar Systems – Transportation of Electrical Energy

Electrical power systems use a number of cables and wires to transport the electricity from the generation unit to where you will use it. The below are responsible for making sure that you get the necessary power for your appliances from your solar system.

Solar wire

A solar wire is a single conductor that sends power from the source to the battery pack.

Solar cable

A solar cable is a collection of several conductors, all wrapped in an insulation jacket that is sunlight resistant. Depending on the voltage, you can get them in varying diameters.

Correctly Sizing the Solar Cables and Wires in a Solar System

Overheating and energy loss are some of the dangers that come from using the incorrect cable size. Furthermore, you are at great risk of fire when you use the wrong cable for your installation. As such, always ensure to check the AWG standards to avoid any code violations. In addition, you need to select the proper wiring and cable sizes to connect the below components.

Diagram for a solar power system

Diagram for a solar power system

Inverter

Solar electric power is generated in DC. An inverter changes it to alternating current (AC) that is the norm for most home appliances.

Solar panels

Solar panels on residential houses.

This changes the sun’s energy into DC electricity that stores on your solar power batteries.

Charge controller

These control the amount of power stored in the batteries to stop them from overcharging.

Batteries

They supply power to your house whenever the sun is unavailable.

When selecting the right wire size for your solar power system, keep the following factors in mind:

  • The amount of power that your solar panel generates. For example, a single panel can make anywhere from 10 watts to 300 watts. Most homes feature single panels that generate 100 watts of power. Therefore, match your wire to the generating capacity of your solar panel. The larger the current, the bigger the wire you need.
  • Consider the distance between your panel and the battery packs. For example, you will need a larger PV wire to fit in with the distance between your solar panels, combiner boxes, and batteries.
  • Finally, AWG tables are suitable for single, solid, and round wires in solar power systems. Additionally, the measurements for stranded wires are determined by the cross-sectional area of equal solid conductors. Given that stranded wires contain small gaps within the conductors, their overall diameter is more significant than a solid wire of a similar AWG.

Solar Wire Types for Solar PV Installations

Below are the different types of wires you can use for your solar power system.

Aluminum or Copper

The Aluminum wires for Solar Street lights.

Aluminum wires are standard in larger gauges as compared to copper. As such, you cannot use them for your in-house wiring connections. Furthermore, aluminum tends to weaken from bending. Therefore, it is only ideal for overhead service entrances, direct burial installations, and commercial operations.

Copper wires offer you better conductivity than aluminum of equal AWG size. Consequently, it works better for internal connections in your residential or commercial property. For example, the wiring of a standard residential property will use copper for the connections between the panels, combiner boxes, and battery packs.

Solid or Stranded

A solar cable is available either as a solid or stranded solar cable. Additionally, a stranded solar connector cable features a collection of many small wires allowing it to be flexible. Furthermore, they offer more conductivity since there is more wire surface than a solid solar connector cable.

Insulation

A proper solar connector cable portfolio includes conductors with resistance to moisture, heat, UV light, and chemicals. As such, you will find them using either of the below insulation materials as per the National Electrical Code.

Color

Solar wires use color codes for their insulation to show their usage and function. Below is a table showing the applicable color codes.

DIRECT CURRENTALTERNATING CURRENT
Color CodeApplicationsColor CodeApplications
RedPositiveBlack / Red / OtherUn-Grounded Hot
WhiteNegative/ Ground ConductorWhiteGround Conductor
Green / BareEquipment GroundGreen/ BareEquipment Ground

Can I Customize Solar Cables At Cloom?

Cloom can supply you with the following array of cables:

What sizes do Solar Cables come in?

  • THHN wire is ideal for general-purpose buildings. You can have it in sizes ranging from 1000 MCM to 14 AWG
  • USE-2 Solar wire that is available from 4/0 to 14 AWG
  •  UL Rated Photovoltaic wire available from 250 to 18 AWG.

What types of solar panel connectors are available?

Cloom has the following solar connector types:    

  • MC4 Locking connectors
  • SOLARLOK® Solar connector
  • MC3 Non-locking connector

What types of solar cables are available?

You can consult for the following solar cables.

Battery Interconnect cables

Battery interconnects cables

Battery interconnects cables.

Our battery interconnects cables come with 10 mm terminal lugs. Additionally, these are available in either 2/0 or 4/0 cables. Furthermore, ensure that you select interconnect cables of proper length. You can do this by putting the battery bank in place and measuring the distance between the terminals you wish to connect.

Battery to inverter cables

These are available in either 2/0, 4/0, or 6 AWG. Additionally, we use special crimping for each lug for the cables. Furthermore, all the battery cable is per UL listing and NEC Designations.

Tray Cables (Charge controller to the battery)

Our tray cables are available in lengths of either 8ft or 16 ft. In addition, the tray cables have an AWG size of 8 or 10. Furthermore, they offer you UV resistance and can produce optimum power output in high-temperature photovoltaic systems.

Solar panel extension cables (solar panel to the controller)

Cloom offers a variety of AWG solar panel extension cables from sizes ranging between 10 to 14 AWG at lengths from 6 ft to 50 ft. Additionally, they feature double insulation suitable for electrical installations prone to extreme temperature ranges. Furthermore, each AWG solar extension cable comes with a male and female connector and a solar panel adaptor kit tool for easy installation.

Adaptor cables/Adaptor Kits 

The solar panel to charge controller adaptor kit is available in either 10 AWG or 12 AWG. Additionally, we offer a variety of solar panel extension cables from sizes ranging between 10 to 14 AWG at lengths from 6 ft to 50 ft. Additionally, they feature double insulation suitable for electrical installations prone to extreme temperature ranges. Furthermore, each AWG solar extension cable comes with a male and female connector and a solar panel adaptor kit tool for easy installation.

Conclusion

Your solar installation assembly requires a variety of wires to ensure that it functions to its optimum level. Consequently, the type, size, and length of a wire depend on the kind of system you use. 

Therefore, you need a reliable partner to support you in identifying what is suitable for you. Always seek a consult from Cloom to get the best in solar cable and wire solutions for all your photovoltaic systems.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at sales@wiringo.com to get a quote for your projects.

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