The choice of cables plays a crucial role in ensuring efficient and safe power transmission. In this blog, we will explore the differences between solar cable and normal cable, highlighting their features, construction, and applications.
Differences Between Solar Cable and Normal Cable
Solar cables, also known as photovoltaic (PV) cables, are designed for special use in solar power systems. They are different from normal cables in several key aspects. The comparations of solar cable vs normal cable are given below:
1. Design and Construction
Solar cables are equipped with features that make them suitable for outdoor solar installations. They have cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation, which provides excellent resistance to solar radiation, extreme temperatures, and adverse weather conditions. This insulation ensures the durability and longevity of solar cables, even in harsh environmental conditions.
In contrast, normal cables typically have polyvinyl chloride (PVC) insulation, which is less resistant to sunlight and extreme weather conditions, making them more suitable for general indoor use.
2. Resistance and Protection
In solar cable vs normal cable, solar cables are designed to endure challenging conditions. They are flexible, moisture-resistant, sunlight-resistant, and flame-resistant, which makes them suitable for outdoor use.
Normal cables, on the other hand, are not typically equipped with the same level of protection and resilience, as they are intended for more common indoor applications where exposure to harsh elements is less.
3. Environmental Compatibility
Solar cables are made to tolerate a wide range of environmental factors. They can withstand high temperatures, cold weather, acid, oil, and alkali materials, making them ideal for outdoor installations. Additionally, they are designed to be eco-friendly, promoting sustainability in solar power systems.
Normal cables, while adequate for general use, may not possess the same level of compatibility.
4. Color Differentiation
Solar cables are commonly found in black and red colors, allowing electricians to differentiate their uses in solar installations. The black cable is typically used for negative (-) connections between solar panels, while the red color is meant for positive (+) connections. This color coding facilitates the proper installation and maintenance of solar power systems.
On the other hand, one of the major differences between solar cable and normal cable is that normal cables may come in different colors without special coding related to solar applications.
Solar cables have a long service life, providing reliable performance over an extended period.
In comparison, normal cables may not have the same level of durability or longevity, as they are typically designed for standard indoor use.
So, solar cables are purpose-built for solar power systems, providing superior insulation, resistance to harsh conditions, and environmental compatibility. Their design and construction make them ideal for outdoor use. Normal cables, in contrast, are primarily intended for general in-door household use and may not possess the specialized properties required for solar installations.
Also Read: AFCI Vs GFCI: What are the Differences?
Can I Use Any Cable for Solar Panels?
It is crucial to comply with local electrical codes during solar PV system installation. The National Electrical Code (NEC) explicitly prohibits the use of normal cables in solar panel installations, emphasizing the requirement for specialized solar cables that meet necessary standards. Remember to refer to local regulations and guidelines to ensure that the cables you will be using in your installation meet the necessary specifications for safety and long-term performance.
As mentioned above in the comparison between solar cable vs normal cable, solar cables are expected to possess resistance against UV light and extreme weather conditions. In residential and commercial solar installations, the commonly used conductor materials are copper and aluminum. It is recommended to use solar cables for solar panels and their connected devices. So, can you use AC cable for solar panels? To know the answer, check out the next segment.
Also See: What Size Cable for 300W Solar Panel?
Can I Use AC Cable for Solar Panel?
Although it is feasible to use AC cable for solar panels, there are reasons why it is not the most optimal configuration for a solar power system. AC cables are not specifically designed for solar applications as they do not provide the same level of efficiency, durability, and safety as solar cables (PV cables).
Additionally, solar cables are designed to handle the unique requirements of solar power systems, providing superior energy transmission and minimizing losses. When it comes to protection against electrical hazards, solar cables are engineered to suit the specific safety requirements of solar systems. So, AC cables can be considered for interconnecting solar panels, it is generally recommended to use solar cables due to their superior efficiency, long life, and safety features in a solar power system.
Cross-Reference: Solar cables and wiring: sizing and AWG explained
Is There Any Difference Between AC and DC Cable?
You already know the differences between solar cable and normal cable, now let’s compare AC vs DC cables.
Both DC and AC cables have differences in their design and utilities.
1. In a solar system, AC cables enable the flow of alternating current between its connected devices. On the other hand, DC cables transport direct current produced by solar panels, which can be directed either to loads such as a battery or an inverter.
2. DC cables are specifically engineered for power evacuation in solar energy systems. They are primarily composed of copper due to their flexibility, high current carrying capacity, and thermal performance advantages. Unlike AC cables, DC cables do not experience skin effect, where variations in copper per unit length affect their power evacuation capacity
3. AC cables are single-insulated, while DC cables are made double-insulated. The copper wire in DC cables is often tinned to provide protection against rust and other environmental conditions. The strands of DC cables are usually thinner compared to AC cables.
So, DC cables and AC cables serve different roles in the power evacuation and transmission process. DC cables are designed for solar power systems and are known for their copper construction, double insulation, and tinned wires. On the contrary, AC cables are used for general power transmission and transporting power to household appliances.
Both these wires have different properties that make them suited for various applications. By considering the differences between solar cable and normal cable, you can choose the right product for your needs. For more such interesting topics, keep exploring our website.