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What Is a Solar Cable?

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  • Written By: T.S. Adams
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2016
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A solar cable is a cable used in photovoltaic generation of power, a process which results in the creation of electrical power from sunlight. During this process, a solar cable links solar panels with other electrical devices in the system, allowing the transmission of electricity from one point to another as necessary. Designed for use under a variety of working conditions, a solar cable is a more ecologically friendly alternative to a traditional power cable.

Solar cables are designed for use in both indoor and outdoor environments. Typically, they are rated for a temperature range of -40 degrees centigrade to 90 degrees centigrade (-40 degree Fahrenheit to 194 degrees Fahrenheit). The maximum permissible DC current voltage for most solar cables is 1.8 kilovolts (kV). Solar cables are flexible, and are encased in metal mesh that helps avoid overvoltage and increases shielding ability. Overvoltage can occur when the current going through a wire is greater than its rated capacity; shielding is the process of protecting the cable and handlers from the electrical current.

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Designed to resist both ultraviolet light and weather, solar cables can be installed outdoors without a problem. In fact, these cables see most of their use outside, exposed to harsh sunlight and the elements. Due to the shielding and casing on solar cables, lines can be laid above ground in highly exposed areas without the risk of breakdowns in the physical lines themselves or the electrical quality of the signal traveling through the wire. The insulation material used is also resistant to salt water and both acidic and alkaline conditions. Additionally, they are halogen-free, as well as flame-resistant and fire retardant.

A solar cable is flexible, designed to be used in both fixed and mobile installations. Within the solar cable's external casing, the positive and negative cables are double insulated and laid completely separate from one another. This reduces the risk of signal interference or degradation, further protecting the quality of the cable. The chances of grounding faults and short circuits are substantially reduced by this precaution, increasing the overall safety and efficiency of the cable itself.

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