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Solar Cables, Benefits and Types

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Cables and wires are considered as arteries and veins of any electrical power system. In most cases, electricity is generated in one place and is consumed in other places. This transportation of electrical power is expedited through a proper network of cables wires and buses.

Solar energy systems are not different. Electrical energy could be created by solar panels, mounted on the roof, and may be required to power load in the basement. This transportation of electricity is only possible with the help of wires and cables. While cables and wires are generally used to represent the phenomenon of ‘Wiring’ there is a major difference between both.

A Solar wire is referred to as a single conductor, small in diameter while the cable is a group of conductors with an insulation jacket. A cable could contain any specific number of conductors and varies in its external diameters. There are two types of solar wires for PV installations.

Aluminum and Copper

Copper and aluminum are the two common conducting materials used in the commercial and residential solar installation. Copper has a greater conductivity as compared to aluminum, thus it carries more current than aluminum at the same size.

Aluminum may be weakened during the installation especially by bending, however, it is also less expensive than copper wires. It is not used for interior home wiring. Aluminum is used in larger gauges for underground or overhead service entrances and also for commercial operations.

This cable could be standard or solid. Standard wires consist of many small wires that allow the wire to be flexible. This type is recommended for larger sizes. The current tends to flow on the outsides of the cable. Thus standard cables have slightly better conductivity.


The insulation covering on the wire protects it from heat, moister, ultraviolet light, or other chemicals.

1.THHN is commonly used in dry and indoor locations.

2.THW, THWN, and TW can be used indoors or for wet outdoor applications in conduit.

3.UF and USE are good for moisture or underground applications.

4.PV Wire USE-2 and RHW-2 cables can be used in outdoor and wet conditions where there outer cabling is UV and moisture resistant. They also must be sunlight-resistant.

Color of cable

Electrical wire insulation is color-coded to designate its operation and use. For troubleshooting and repair, understanding the coding is very essential. The wiring label differs according to AC or DC current.

Here is the sample table for colors used in the wire.

Alternative Current(AC) Direct Current(DC)
Colour Application Colour Application
Black red or another color UN-Ground Hot Red Positive
White Grounded Conductor White Negative or Ground Conductor
Green or Bare Equipment Ground Green or Bare Equipment Ground

In a typical solar power system, wiring is required to attach these four components along

1.The solar panel 

2.The Inverter (used to convert DC electricity to AC as like most of our home appliances need AC input).

3.The charge controller (used to stop the batteries from overcharging).

4.The Batteries (used to store electrical energy for later use).

Factors determining the Solar Wire Size

The size of the wire to be used depends upon following

1.The generating capacity of the solar panel (the larger the power generated, the bigger the size).

2.The distance of the solar panel to the loads (greater the distance, bigger the size).


The size of wire is measured in AWG (American wire gauge) and it is a standardized wire gauge measurement tool.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the AWG number, the smaller is the wire.

A 16 AWG wire is smaller than the 12 AWG wire, which way smaller than a 4 AWG wire.

There is a bigger range of tools available on the internet which helps in selecting a properly sized cable for your solar panel installation.

 Advantages of Solar Energy

1.Reduced Electricity bills

Since you will be meeting some of your power requirements with the electricity your solar system has produced, your energy bills will fall down significantly. How much you save on your bill will be dependent on the size of the solar system and your electricity or heat usage and requirements.

2.Renewable Energy source

Among all the advantages of solar panels, the most important point is that solar energy is truly a renewable energy supply. It can be harnessed in any area of the world and is available each day. We will not run out of solar energy, unlike some other sources of energy. 

3.Technology development

Technology in solar power is continually evolving and improvements will further intensify in the future. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can also increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power system.

4.Low Maintenance cost

The solar system usually doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and upgradation. You only need to keep it relatively clean, so cleaning them once or twice per year will do the job. If in doubt, you can always rely on specialized solar panel cleaning companies. There are many service providers available on the internet which provides you home services as well as. 


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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