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Author Archives: AWG Content Team

  1. Solar Cables & Accessories

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    American Wire Group provides photovoltaic wire, power cables, control cables, accessories, and hardware for the Solar market. Our cables are sturdy, weather-resistant, and can withstand mechanical stress from bending, stretching, or pressure. As a leader in the solar wire and cable market, we are well-equipped to offer the best solutions for every connectivity project.

    American Wire Group’s solar power system solutions include:

    • Photovoltaic cables
    • Communication cables
    • Grounding cables
    • Medium voltage power cables
    • Transmission wire & cable
    • Hardware
    • Equipment

    Read on to learn more about our solar power systems solutions.

    Photovoltaic (PV) Wire

    PV wire is a single conductor, sunlight-resistant wire rated 90ºC wet or dry for interconnection wiring of grounded and ungrounded photovoltaic power systems

    The National Electrical Code (NEC) rates the cables in the United States, while the Canadian Electric Code (CEC) rates them in Canada. PV wire conductors are made of copper or aluminum.

    PV Standards

    UL 4703 Photovoltaic Wire:

    • Designed for use and installation in the USA
    • First Edition: 30 September 2014
    • Latest Edition: 11 August 2020

    CSA C22.2 No. 271 Photovoltaic Cable:

    • Designed for use and installation in Canada
    • First Edition: May 2011
    • Latest Edition: January 2020

    Production tests:

    • In-line spark testing
    • Periodic testing of insulation resistance in water at 15 °C

    Other standards:

    • ICEA S-95-658 Power Cables Rated 2000 V or Less for the Distribution of Electrical Energy
    • Field Testing:
    • NETA MTS Maintenance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems
    • NETA ATS Acceptance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems

    Applications of PV Wire

    Connecting Solar Panels to a Combiner Box

    The most common application of PV wire is connecting solar panels. This involves running a 12 AWG to 8 AWG wire from the combiner box to the ground in a short run (less than 100 feet).

    Open Air Installation

    This involves tying the PV wire directly to a rack. It’s a fast and cost-effective way to install solar panels, as there is no need for a trench or foundation.

    Connecting Combiner Boxes to the Inverter

    PV wire can also connect combiner boxes to inverters. These wires are usually power-sized aluminum cables (4/0 AWG to 1000 kcmil) that extend for hundreds of feet. 

    Direct Burial (Trench) Installation

    Direct burial or trench installation can accommodate many circuits in a single common trench. This cost-effective method allows for native backfill to support the foundation.

    Solar Cables and Accessories

    At American Wire Group, we specialize in cables, wires, and accessories for renewable energy applications and other utilities. Learn more about our products below.

    Communication Cables

    We offer fiber optic cables in single-mode and multimode varieties. These RS485 twisted copper wires are protected by a single jacket, double jacket, single armor/single jacket, double armor/double jacket, or fiber in duct option. It can be used as optical ground wire (OPGW), with OPGW hardware included.

    Grounding Wires

    Electrical wires ensure circuits run smoothly by safely discharging excess electricity. Our bare copper and copper-clad steel wires are designed to achieve this goal.

    Medium Voltage Power Cables

    Our medium voltage power cables range from 5 kV to 46 kV and come with an LLDPE or XLPE jacket. We offer copper tape, concentric neutral wires, or flat straps. Insulation options include:

    • TR-XLPE insulation, MV-90 or MV-105
    • EPR insulation, MV-90 or MV-105

    Transmission & Distribtuion Wire & Cable

    We provide overhead bare or covered transmission wires such as ACSR or AAAC. 

    Wire & Cable System Accessories

    We offer the following wire and cable system accessories:

    • Elbows
    • Elbow arresters
    • Sectionalizing cabinets
    • Splices
    • Terminations

    Working With American Wire Group

    American Wire Group’s full product line of cables, wires, and accessories are ideal for utility and renewable energy applications, such as solar, wind, battery storage and EV infrastructure. Our experts provide services like engineering and design, cable management, supply chain (logistics, procurement, transportation), and more. We are ISO 9001:2015 certified and have over 200 years of combined experience in solar power cables and connectors.

    Contact us today to learn more about our solar wire connector products and services.

  2. Facts About Low-, Medium- & High-Voltage Cables

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    American Wire Group is a leading provider of electrical wire and cable systems, including low-, medium-, and high-voltage cables. With more than 200 years of combined experience, we have the knowledge and skill to help you find the ideal cable solution. Through quality sourcing, custom cable design and engineering, and skilled cable management, AWG ensures that you receive the appropriate products quickly and within your budget.

    When selecting quality cables for your project, it is important to understand the differences between high-, medium-, and low-voltage cables. Each offers unique benefits for different applications and industries. 

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    Facts About Low-, Medium-, & High-Voltage Cables

    Applications of LV, MV & HV Cables

    Cables are manufactured in a variety of designs and configurations to meet the varied needs of many industries. They are typically divided into three categories based on voltage capacity. Low voltage (LV) cables are designed to handle 2,000 V or less, medium voltage cables (MV) can accommodate between 2,000 V and 35,000 V, and high voltage, or extra-high voltage cables (HV or EHV) are rated for voltage above 35,000 V.

    Low Voltage Cables (LV)

    Low-voltage cables are used for up to 2,000 volts, depending on the type of current. LV cables can be found in household electronics, consumer products, and electrical devices in residential, commercial, solar farms, and other industrial settings. Typical applications include automation equipment wiring, security systems, lighting, sound systems, and interior building wiring. 

    The conducting wire in LV cables is typically a tin-copper blend, pure copper, or aluminum. Depending on the intended application, insulation and jacketing materials can be either flexible or rigid. Most LV cables are jacketed in thermoplastic material such as PVC, or thermoset material such as XLPE. 

    Medium Voltage Cables (MV)

    Medium-voltage cables are used for voltages from 2,000 V up to 35,000 V. Since they are incorporated into a broad range of applications, MV cables come in standard voltage ratings, including 5,000 V, 8,000 V, 15,000 V, 25,000 V, and 35,000 V. They are used to distribute power to equipment in mining and industrial applications, and in mobile workstations for repair and maintenance of power lines, transformers, and substations.

    MV cables come with both copper and aluminum wires, and insulation is critical. Common materials used in MV cable insulation include ethylene-propylene rubber (EPR), neoprene, cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), or tree-retardant cross-linked polyethylene (TR-XLPE). The insulation and jacket material used in MV cables differs based on voltage, application, and operating environment. 

    High Voltage Cables (HV)

    High-voltage cables are specifically designed to handle voltage that exceeds 35,000 V. HV cables are used in high-energy applications, including power plants, power transmission, and municipal electrical grids. 

    When it comes to extruded power transmission cables, materials with higher temperature resistance and high ampacities are desired, such as copper, Milliken copper, enameled copper, and Milliken enameled copper. The high power of HV cables requires highly durable insulation for a variety of underground, underwater, and surface applications. HV cables and joints are structurally reinforced to ensure that voltage is tightly controlled and insulation remains intact. 

    Complete Cable Solutions From American Wire Group

    Whether you need low-, medium- or high-voltage cables for utility power transmission or renewable energy applications, American Wire Group has the knowledge and experience to help you find the perfect cable solutions for your needs. For your convenience, we offer a full range of services, from cable design and engineering to supply chain management and distribution. 

    To learn more about our outstanding cable solutions and other services, contact AWG today!