With fossil fuels shrinking worldwide, there has been a significant shift towards renewable energy sources.
Apart from the reduced supply, another part of the reason this is happening is in the ever-growing campaigns pushing for environmental preservation.
Nearly all governmental and non-governmental organisations have now joined hands to find the best alternatives.
This campaign for better energy sources has given rise to more demand for Solar PVs. Today we have both governments and private enterprises investing in solar PVs.
This has also boosted suppliers of solar PV systems like solar cables manufacturers, solar panels, and power storage gadgets.
Similarly, companies focused on providing green energy, like Green Mountain Energy, have increased demands over the past few years.
When we talk about solar PVs, we usually focus on their constituent parts like the inverter, substructure and modules.
We often ignore the solar cables, one of the most critical components. Without a suitable line, we will not be able to get the best out of the system, which can lead to a malfunction.
Since they may appear similar, cables come in different sizes and structures. Here, the size factor is based on the amount of current that the line is expected to supply.
If you’re not familiar with these features, this article is for you. Read on to learn more!
Solar Cable Function
A solar cable is used in photovoltaic power production. The wires act as interconnecting units between the solar panels and the electric components of the photovoltaic system.
The main features are solar panels, batteries, a charge controller, and the inverter. As part of a solar PVs system, these cables must be laid outside.
This also means a high ability to withstand atmospheric conditions, such as exposure to UV rays, a wide range of temperatures.
As such, you’ll find that most of these cables are sheathed to avoid being damaged in such conditions. That grey or black jacket you see on your lines provides a lot of protection.
In a PV system, the solar panel faces the sun to catch the solar energy. This solar energy is converted to DC, then carried by the solar cables to the storage batteries.
While the DC is ready for use, there is a preference for AC in India. Hence, the DC is converted to AC by an inverter.
So, the cables are an essential part of the process, ensuring that the current flows from one component to the other.
A solar PV could be a standalone module or a more extensive system. The solar cables connect all the solar modules to form a PV generator in a more extensive PV system.
These solar cables are also known as string generators. Many of us may have seen the solo solar PVs on the rooftop. These are run on a lower voltage when compared to the grid-connected systems.
Other than high voltage, grid PVs have different components which require these units to be installed in separate, isolated locations like most power grids.
The system has many solar cables that connect various parts. The DC cable connects the inverter to the generator junction box.
The DC produced in the PV module has a low voltage with a high current. This makes the DC cable different from the other solar cables in the system.
Given the high wind, it has to carry, who must select the cable carefully. For the DC cables, the solar cables manufacturers have to pay particular attention to the sizing of the cable system.
This has a direct effect on its efficiency and safety. Some of the perils of choosing the wrong size are:
- Overheating, which can then cause a fire?
- An increase in size will mean higher cable resistance. Even a slight increase in resistance can represent a significant loss of energy.
The sizing of the cable also depends on the distance. The further the panels are from other components, the larger the wire gauge.
Basic Requirements from Solar Cables
One of the standard features of all solar cables is that they are always laid outdoors. This means that solar cable manufacturers must ensure that the wires can withstand the corrosive effects of an outdoor area. The cables can:
- Withstand UV radiation
- Withstand moisture
- Tolerate temperature fluctuations
In addition, the cables must have high flexibility since these must move with the panels. Most solar lines have class 5 flexible heavy-duty tin-coated copper conductors to ensure this.
The insulation and over-sheath have a low smoke, halogen-free structure. To protect against UV rays, it is black. The cross-linked polymer in the sheath ensures protection against temperature fluctuations.
Protection against temperature fluctuations is vital because solar cables are laid in outdoor conditions.
This means who must protect the line against both high and low temperatures. This is also why the cables need protection against UV rays.
This ability to withstand environmental conditions gives the cable its durability and is responsible for its unique construction.
Solar cables have a vital role to play in solar PV systems. Given the harsh conditions that solar lines function in, solar cable manufacturers must make the cables under stringent specifications.
For one, they have to withstand any environmental conditions to which they’re exposed.
These cables also need to supply the desired amount of current to connected loads with the least possible energy loss along the way.
So, the next time you want to repair your electrical wiring, make sure you consider these factors!
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