The renewable energy industry has grown rapidly as companies increasingly recognize its potential to reduce emissions and cut costs. Solar and wind farms produce massive amounts of energy that can be directed to diverse industrial processes. However, to do so, renewable energy providers must build resilient infrastructures that can handle challenging environments and changing energy demands. Wiring constitutes a key part of that infrastructure for generating, transporting, and storing electricity.
AWG specializes in wire and cable solutions for wind, solar, EV, battery storage, and other renewable energy sectors. The renewable energy sector relies on the following AWG wire and cable products:
- Communication cables
- Medium voltage cables
- Control cables
- Grounding conductor cables
- Power cables
- Photovoltaic cables
- Transmission cables
- Pre-installed HDPE Duct cable
- Associated hardware & accessories
- Electric vehicle infrastructure cables
AWG also offers a range of cables tailored to the unique needs of the renewable energy industry.
Our patented TowerGuard® CCA 2kV weighs and costs approximately 35% less than conventional copper RHH/RHW-2 cables. Its flexibility and chemical resistance make it ideal for use in both turbines and solar power generators.
These cables—and others in our catalog—are perfectly suited to demanding renewable energy applications.
Commercial and Utility-Scale Solar Energy Production
The solar industry efficiently produces energy for a wide range of commercial sectors, each of which benefits from diversifying its energy sources.
Commercial solar power relies on large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants, which draw energy from hundreds of thousands of discrete panels. When the sun strikes one of these panels, its PV cells absorb the energy, generating an electrical field. The electricity then passes through an inverter on its way to a battery. Photovoltaic cable, or PV cable, is a single insulated conductor used to interconnect the solar panels (or modules) in a solar farm.
Neither individual panels nor solar farms could function without a network of durable solar power cables, wires, and connectors.
For this vital interconnection, solar energy cables and wires are used to connect these units and distribute the generated current. PV wiring is suitable for use in grounded and ungrounded photovoltaic power systems, generally rated up to 2 kV, in free air, raceways or direct burial in accordance with the NEC (United States) or Canadian Electric Code. When leveraging open air installation wires are tied to racking, offering a fast and cost-effective solution.
How Solar Cables Support Large-Scale Renewable Energy Equipment
Solar panels themselves consist of frames that contain glass-covered solar cells. These cells are the units that generate charge in response to sunlight. The solar panels (or modules) interconnect, resulting in strings, and lead back to a combiner box. Monitoring systems track energy yield and alert technicians to faults. These components work together to create solar energy for commercial buildings.
Solar Panel Connection Wires
What are Solar Panel Connection Wires?
Solar wires are the conductors that connect the solar panel, charge controller, inverter, and batteries to which they distribute current. For this application typically we will see circuit sized copper wiring used (12 AWG to 8 AWG) in short runs – no longer than about 100 feet.
Types of Solar Panel Connection Wires
Solar panel connection wires come in different varieties to suit different applications in the assembly.
AWG’s SunGuard XLPE Photovoltaic Wire is engineered specifically for grounded and ungrounded solar power connectors. These conductors are rated for high crush, moisture, and chemical resistance and can be used above and below ground.
Wires are critical to the function of any PV system, so it’s important to choose the right ones for your system. The right solar panel connection wire is rated for the appropriate voltage and can withstand your installation and working conditions. Solar power equipment manufacturers are typically most concerned with:
- Conductor Size: Conductor size is defined by conductor cross-sectional area, not diameter. A larger conductor size means less resistance which produces less heat and allows more current to pass through the conductor.
- Material: Wires are typically available in aluminum or copper. Aluminum allows you to save money and weight. Copper wiring is on average about 3 times heavier than an aluminum wiring (8000 Series). Typical aluminum alternative to copper for a given circuit is: About 50% the weight of copper, and about 8% larger diameter (on average).
- Insulation: Different conditions call for different types of insulation. Insulated wires are able to withstand voltage stresses, operate over a wide temperature range, and are better equipped to withstand mechanical abuse such as abrasion and flexing, as well as chemical attacks from water, oils, gasses.
Choosing the wrong cable can cause a range of problems, including failure to power electrical units and preventing the battery bank from fully charging.
Solar Energy Cables
What are Solar Cables?
Cables for solar systems are a collection of multiple solar wires bound together by a jacket. They can accommodate higher voltages and may be used for connections above or below ground. Solar cables are specifically designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including UV rays, moisture, and extreme temperatures.
Types of Solar Cables
Solar cables differ based on their type, number, and arrangement of conductors, which determines their performance characteristics. Low-, medium-, and high-voltage cables are all available to fulfill different roles in a facility.
Another important distinction is whether a cable is compatible with grounded or ungrounded systems.
Selection considerations for cables are similar to those for wires:
- Size: The selected conductor size must be able to safely carry the maximum current generated by the system. Selecting a conductor size in accordance with the NEC or the Canadian Electrical Code is required for a safe, Code compliant installation.
- Insulation: Cables are more likely to be used outdoors or underground, so they need to resist sunlight, moisture, varying temperatures, and chemical exposures. Ensure that the type and thickness of a cable’s insulation suit your application.
- Cable Certification: Renewable energy cables should typically be UL-listed or CSA approved.
AWG Solar Power Wire & Cable Supplier
American Wire Group has experience you can trust in the solar energy section. We have sold over 87 million feet of photovoltaic wire and cable since in over 1,400 shipments.
AWG offers a full range of cables and wires suitable for solar power applications. For more details, review our line card.
Wiring Technology for Renewable Wind Energy
Turbines leverage power from the wind to provide clean, reliable energy. Today’s global wind power capacity sits at 743 gigawatts, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, and the industry continues to grow.
Wind turbines powering this production may be situated on land or offshore. Offshore turbines are significantly larger and generate more energy thanks to the massive power of ocean winds. Still, to maximize production, both kinds of turbines are often arranged into farms in very windy areas. However, they can also be installed at or near the site where the power will be used. In this case, they are referred to as distributed wind.
A wind turbine has propeller-shaped blades that spin around a rotor when they capture airflow. The rotor’s movement spins a generator, creating electricity.
The Instrumentation and Design Behind Large-Scale Wind Power
A typical turbine consists of blades connected to a rotor, both mounted on a tall shaft. The rotor connects to the nacelle, which is the box that contains the generator. Wind turbine cables are necessary to connect these components, but also to transport energy from the generator to its place of storage or use.
To function outdoors under varied conditions, wind turbine construction materials must be rugged while remaining lightweight. This is especially critical when considering offshore wind energy technology, which is buffeted by salt water and high winds.
Wind Turbine Construction Materials: Cables & Wiring
What are Wind Farm Cables?
Wind farm cables are the conductors used within wind farms, as well as those used to connect large-scale wind power to the electrical grid.
Types of Wind Farm Cables
Wind turbine energy cables vary in size, construction, and application. A typical turbine requires low-voltage cables in the nacelle, along with medium- and high-voltage cables to transport power within and beyond the tower. Control cables are also necessary to manage the flow of electricity.
Different cables should be used at different points in a turbine or wind farm. Key considerations include:
- Size: A cable’s size determines its voltage capacity and influences its physical properties, such as flexibility and torsional strength.
- Insulation: Wind farm cables are often exposed to very low temperatures, saltwater, and oil. The entire cable’s construction should support these possibilities, but the most critical is its insulation.
- Conductor: Both conductor size and material are considerable factors for selecting wind power cabling. Aluminum cables are increasingly replacing copper cables as tower and base components because aluminum is cheaper and 60% lighter. As for size, the larger the internal area of a conductor, the less resistance it creates. This allows cables to produce less heat and allow more current to pass through the conductor.
Within the nacelle of a turbine, cables should be flexible and be able to resist vibrations and chemical exposures. The cables used to transport power should be larger to accommodate higher voltage, and they should have high torsional strength to withstand winds and turbine rotation.
To ensure that a cable can withstand the tough conditions of wind power applications, look for Wind Turbine Tray Cable (WTTC) approval and high flex rating.
AWG Wind Power Cable Supplier
AWG’s durable cables are ideal for wind power applications, including our TowerGuard® line tailored specifically to wind applications. Full details on our wind power products are available on our line card.
American Wire Group’s primary mission is to advance grid modernization by providing a complete solution from inventory, in all aspects of electrical transmission & distribution systems, and power generation. Our range of products includes low voltage, medium voltage, high- and extra voltage power cables, control cables, fiber optics for the electric grid, as directed by the IIJA (Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act) for Grid Modernization.
AWG’s comprehensive capabilities include delivering more than just wires and cables. We supply critical equipment needed such as transformers, switchgears, panelboards, inverters, power electronics components, hardware and more.
Companies are being challenged to reduce costs, increase quality, energize on time, and increase customer satisfaction. AWG lowers your total project material costs for EV infrastructure deployment projects. That’s why we carry the industry’s largest inventory for EV and grid interconnection projects.
We have invested in our warehouses across the United States and stocked them with inventory to be your single source supplier. With our complete solutions, our customers can deploy an EV charging network efficiently and quickly. By providing full lifecycle support, including full product technical support, for projects of all shapes and sizes, we help you go from conception to completion and beyond.
Renewable Energy Wire & Cable Products
Renewable energy applications present unique demands that strain all but the most reliable cables. AWG offers many wiring solutions that can endure these rigors.
See all of our offerings for wire and cable in our online catalog or reach out for more information.