Solar cables are used to connect solar panels and other electrical elements in a photovoltaic system. A photovoltaic system is a power system used to supply usable power. It is also referred to as a solar power system. The system consists of an arrangement of various components like the solar panel, solar inverter, and solar cables. The role of a solar panel is to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. Solar cables are, therefore the similar to veins and arteries in a solar power system. On the other hand, the role of an inverter is to convert the direct output current into alternating current. In this article, we will be exploring the concept of solar cables and their features.
Features of solar cables
Solar cables are designed to be UV resistant. This is because they are installed outside hence exposed to a lot of sunlight and UV radiation. Lack of UV resistance would mean that the UV rays would damage the cables or affect their effectiveness.
Seeing that solar cables are used outdoors, they are exposed to all elements of weather, including sunlight and rain, the cables are built to be resistant to water. This means that solar cables are not susceptible to damages caused by exposure to water the likes of rust and inefficiency.
A solar cable consists of two or more wires that are insulated. The wires are enveloped together in a single jacket. The number of wires in a solar cable depends on the external diameter of the cable. On the other hand, the outer diameter depends on the number of conductors.
Classification of solar cables
There are three main categories of solar cables:
- Solar DC cables
Under this category, there are two types of cables:
- String cables-These are the cables that are usually integrated into the solar power system. To enable and enhance their connectivity, string cables are fitted with suitable connectors.
- DC main cables-these are single extension cables used to connect positive and negative cables directly or indirectly to the solar power inverter. This type of cable is typically used outdoors. The positive and negative cables in this mode usually are not laid together in the same jacket. The reason behind this is that the earth’s fault and the short circuit may be influenced if the two are aligned together.
- AC connection cables
This category of cables is used to link the solar power inverter using a piece of protection equipment, to the electricity grid.
Five core AC connection cables- these cables feature three live wires that carry electric current in three phases. The neutral wire takes the flow away from the device, and the safety wire connects the casing to the object and the ground wire.
Single-phase AC connection cables- they only have a single line wire.
The features of the solar power system determine the type and the features of the solar cable used. Elements such as the size of the cable used to depend on the generating capacity of the solar panel and distance of the solar panels system to the loads. Additionally, there are other features like the brand and cost of the cables that are to be considered.