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Solar Energy & Photovoltaic Wire

Home News Industry Knowledge Solar Energy & Photovoltaic Wire

Solar energy, along with wind energy, are by far the two most popular forms of renewable energy sources in the world today. In this article, we will shine the light on the benefits and uses of solar power energy as well discuss the different type of solar wire commonly called photovoltaic wire. Where wind energy is the harnessing of the earth’s natural winds into power, solar energy is the harnessing of the sun’s rays into energy.

Some of the greatest benefits to the sun’s power are that it’s pollution-free and inexhaustible. Today’s world economy is almost completely reliable on fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gases. However, they are nonrenewable resources with an expiration date, and help to create much of the world’s pollution. In the case of the renewable solar energy it will last indefinitely and has zero effect on the world’s pollution. In short, the sooner we switch to using renewable energies, the cleaner the air we breathe and the water we drink will be for us, and for our children.

The benefits of solar power can be seen in our everyday lives. From as simply as hanging out your laundry and using the rays of the sun to dry your cloths to the majority of calculators that are used today. It’s really just a matter of time until everyone is using a renewable source of energy to power their homes and lives to their businesses. In fact, many people conclude that within 25 years, most people will be using alternative power sources to obtain the power they need to heat their homes and drive their cars. Since the technology is new, the equipment needed to collect and use this energy is fairly costly. However, I would argue you can’t put a price on clean air and fresh water.

While there are many components to building a solar panel for a home or business, one of the most critical is the photovoltaic wire. You need a cable that can withstand harsh environmental elements specifically the heat from the sun.

Underwriters Laboratories, commonly known as UL, leads the way in providing the standards for solar photovoltaic wire. UL has stated that when making PV module interconnection, only the wire types specified in the National Electrical Code (NEC) can be utilized if the modules are to be sold in the USA. In section 690.31 (B) of the 2008 NEC PV wire is required to be sunlight resistant and rated for wet locations at a temperature rating of 90C or more.

In the past, USE-2 copper wire has been used in PV applications; the emergence of the PV wire standards has replaced it as the choice for solar module interconnections. PV is superior for multiple reasons over its predecessor USE-2.

First, PV wire can be rated at 600V, 1KV or 2KV voltage levels. Next, PV wire can be used in both grounded and ungrounded PV arrays. Also, PV wire has a thicker insulation/jacket giving it more abrasion and mechanical protection. PV wire can be found in 16 AWG and 18 AWG while USE-2 smallest available size is 14 AWG. Finally, and most important, PV wire must comply with most stringent sunlight (UV) resistance and be flexible at the extreme lower temperatures. It must undergo a 720 hour weatherometer and a -40C cold chamber conditioning; over twice the requirements for USE-2.

With the growing needs for renewable solar energy growing daily in our country, it is no surprise that Distributor Wire & Cable is now stocking all of the wire and cable associated with this industry including 600V, 1KV and 2KV solar photovoltaic wire. For more information on the latest photovoltaic technology, visit Underwriters Laboratories.