Photovoltaic (PV) System Cables Information
Photovoltaic (PV) system cables are single-conductor electrical wire and cable assemblies that connect various components in a photovoltaic system. They are also known photovoltaic conductors and are often used with Solar Panels, Solar Junction Boxes, and Photovoltaic (PV) / Solar Combiners.
The primary function of a photovoltaic (PV) system cable is to connect solar junction boxes to photovoltaic (PV)/solar combiners. These cables or cable assemblies are flexible and rated for outdoor use, meaning they need to have waterproof, UV-resistant jacket insulation and be able to handle various temperature fluctuations due to exposure to sunlight. The National Electric Code (NEC Article 690.31 Section B) states that photovoltaic systems are to be wired with single-conductor cable type USE-2 or single conductor cable listed and labeled as photovoltaic (PV) wire.
There are multiple types of photovoltaic (PV) system cables.
- USE - 2
- PV labeled cable
Photovoltaic (PV) system cables are commonly made of copper, along with a moisture-resistant covering. The covering is rated for wet locations and has a temperature rating of 90°C (194°F) or greater. The insulation thickness is dependent of the size of the conductor but varies from 1.14 mm for 14 AWG wire to 3.18 mm for 2000 kcmil wire. (NEC table 310.104(A))
The follow specifications determine the functionality of a Photovoltaic (PV) system cables.
- Conductor material: The conductor is generally made from copper but they are also available in aluminum and copper clad aluminum.
- Amperage: The current rating is based off the size (AWG) and the material of the conductor.
- Voltage: The voltage rating is generally 600 V, but some have a rating of 2000 V.
- AWG: The AWG or size of the conductor is used to determine what part of the system the conductor can be used in conjunction with the current rating.
2011 National Electric Code, NFPA 70