WIREPEDIA: The History of Renewable Solar Energy Wire & Cable

by | Nov 19, 2021


The History of Renewable Solar Energy Wire & Cable

The Power of the Sun

For thousands of years, the human race has made use of energies from undepletable sources. To be exact, it is known that as of the seventh century B.C., civilizations were already utilizing the, what is now a science experiment for elementary and middle school students, magnified glass with the sun to increase heat onto an object and create fire! 

Today, solar power is controlled and utilized in a more extensive and comprehensive way that increases efficiency. Thanks to the energy industry scientists and hobbyists, advancements and evolution of the solar cells that capture energy have come a long way. In spite of the moderately recent measures and benchmarks for solar energy wire and cable implemented in solutions such as solar panels, wires and cables have evolved quite well and efficiently where more and more residential and commercial buildings rely on them. 

The Background of Solar Energy Cable & Wire

In the late 1830s, Edmond Becquerel, a French physicist came across the photovoltaic effect which in short, is when energy such as electricity is made through solar cells in consequent to being subjected to light, in this case the sun. Subsequent to this experiment, and for the next hundred of years, scientists explored and studied the photovoltaic effect process as well as with elements that could work great with high bandgap thin solar cells, such as the selenium element. 

During the late 1900s, William Bailey, an inventor and previous mechanical engineer at the Carnegie Steel Company pioneered solar thermal collector which served the function warming water for home usage. Technically, this collector of heat was composed of an apparatus that was in constant contact with the sun, collecting solar energy, whilst the other component was in connection with the water for heating of it. This then went on to become the template prototype for what we now know as the solar cells and panels. 

In the 50s, the telephone giant, Bell, had manage to pioneer the very prime solar cell that was capable of transforming solar energy into electricity. Subsequent to this, engineers and scientists have strived to enhance the translation of solar energy to electricity, allowing us to witness the evolution of electric automobiles, aviation and commercial and residential buildings. 

Various Solar Energy Cable and Wire 

Throughout many years, THHN categorized and known as building wire as well as battery cable, was the cable/wire used for anything general, solar energy related. Utilized by many industries and for many solutions, it was deemed ideal by the energy industry for its solar energy applications over other wire and cable due to its nature of high temperature resistance. Although wires such as UF, SE and USE have all been utilized in solar applications previously and have been addressed in portions of the NEC that deal with photovoltaic systems, solely PV and USE-2 Solar Wire are listed as permissible alternatives in the NEC since 2008 due to the reliability, durability and efficiency they offer over prior listed wire and cables. 

Photovoltaic (PV) Wire & Cable

Photovoltaic Wire complies with UL 4703, the most recent and up-to-date standard. The solar wire is rated to withstand temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius in wet settings and 150 degrees Celsius in dry settings as well as voltages of 600, 1K or 2K. Commonly known of its use as underground service entry cable, it can also be utilized in underground arrays. It not only offers strong insulation/jacketing, but also superior resistance to direct solar light and fire, and malleability in cold settings. 

USE-2 Wire & Cable

Governed by UL 854 guidelines, and as per UL specialists, USE-2 wire is commonly favored for subterranean applications but also for external ones per the NEC Sec. 690.31 (B). Compared to Photovoltaic Wire, USE-2 wire which is 90 degree Celsius in wet/dry setting as well as 600 volts, is much more resistant to abrasion and tear. 

Modern Solar Energy and Power 

Whilst USE-2 as well as Photovoltaic wire were designed exclusively for the use in present solar energy cables and respective applications, wire that was previously employed in the solar power sector and energy industry are still relevant and viable alternatives. THHN wire and cables can indeed be utilized in determined Photovoltaic applications, where deemed suitable of course. Though, should not at all be utilized as a substitute to photovoltaic as well as USE-2 wire if indicated because it not only lacks every one of the specific attributes found in Photovoltaic wire and USE-2 Wires but it could also potentially result in malfunctioning. 

Z-Tronix Solar Energy Wire & Cable Solutions

Although cabling standards have not had the greatest amount of time to evolve, the sole history of solar power and solar energy cable is significant and sufficient. Z-Tronix’s guidelines, specifications and processes will undoubtedly develop as we strive to improve the procedures and materials we utilize for solar energy and power applications. To learn more about our energy industry wire and cable visit our Energy Industry page, bulk building & fixture wire & cable section of website or simply call us and speak with a Z-Tronix wire and cable expert today!