Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Wire:Understanding and Difference

To me, it is indisputable that a cleaner tomorrow must start by introducing solar power to our lives. PV wire always have to be a part of the solution to get the most out of this renewable energy source.

They are hardened to withstand the harshest conditions, such as temperature fluctuations, UV exposure, moisture, and abrasion. Solar installations often expose the wires to these conditions. Their robustness and moisture resistance helps them last longer, which makes it possible for the tangible benefits of clean energy to be enhanced through them.

In our business blog, we will tell you about PV cables, difference, and their major role in solar projection selection. Keep reading.

What is PV Wire?

what's PV cable

Now, we will explain what PV cable is. PV, short for photovoltaic wire, is an exclusive wire for solar power systems. The photovoltaic wire connects the solar system’s parts, such as solar panels, junction boxes, and inverters.

PV wire is tough and can take on high temperatures up to 90°C if humid and 150°C if dry. It is similar to solar panel wire but composed of many small stranded copper wires twisted together and covered with special insulation and sheathing. This design adds to the system’s portability and convenience when installing solar systems.

Specifications of PV Wires

Moving on to the specifications of PV wires, let me enlist some specifications.

  • It comes in different sizes, like 10 AWG copper PV wire, ul 4703, 12 AWG solar cable to 8 AWG solar wire.
  • The conductor material is usually tinned copper. It’s insulated with XLPO and covered in XLPO sheathing.
  • The voltage it can handle is AC: 1000/1000V and DC: 1500/1500V.
  • PV wire is typically black and red.
  • It can withstand temperatures from -40°C to +90°C and is excellent against UV and ozone exposure.
  • The tinned copper conductor prevents oxidation, and the XLPO insulation and sheathing make it resistant to high temperatures.
  • Regular wires aren’t suitable for photovoltaic systems because they’re not sunlight  resistant like solar PV wire.

Solar Cable and Normal Cable – Differences

solar cable vs normal cable

You know, there’s a big difference between solar wire and regular wire. Therefore, my choice for solar system setup will always include the solar panel cables.

Unlike regular cable, solar wire is constructed in such a way that it can endure extreme climatic conditions like scorching sun rays, high temperatures, and ozone. Further, it doesn’t burn, so this is a huge bonus.

Solar cable is that it’s designed to connect all the different parts of your solar panels. It’s got better insulation to make it flexible enough than regular cables, so it can handle being outside. The conductors of pvc cables are made of pure copper, and if they are using outdoors for a long period of time, the conductors will easily oxidize.

Regular wires don’t cut in harsh environments; they can get brittle over time. In other words, they are not good conductors who can make it flexible, which is a significant safety concern. That’s why I always choose PV wire for my solar projects.

Solar Cable Size

Alright, let’s talk about solar cable size. The wire size is significant because it affects how well your solar system works.

So, here’s the deal: the dimension of the wire is determined by its conductor area of cross-section. In essence, where you have a larger area, the fewer the hurdles are; thus, the current will flow well and without kinks.

As per the National Electrical Code, the wire size depends on the power the wires can carry. In solar applications, like connecting PV modules or a solar array, you will frequently come across strands of copper wire used to obtain the necessary flexibility and durability.

As for the correct size of wires, here are some more aspects you should be mindful of. Keep voltage and amperage ratings in mind when designing the system. You must ensure the wire can carry the current without overheating or other problems.

Besides, consider the location of the wire installation. Different situations can necessitate wires of various sizes to ensure everything works properly. Generally, the most common sizes of PV cables are 6mm², 4mm², and 2.5mm².

Hence, as you seek a solar cable, pay close attention to its voltage, amperage rating, and installation surroundings to get the ideal fit for your requirements.

Getting a certified product is a must to meet all safety requirements and standards.  For example, TUV and UL certifications could be you’re talking about. The certifications guarantee that a wire is designed to perform in these conditions and is safe for this use.

Does the PV Wire Need a Conduit?


Alright, let’s talk about whether PV wire needs conduit. So, here’s the deal: according to the NEC (National Electrical Code), if you’re laying PV wire indoors, you’ll need metal conduits for electrical wiring, just like you would for regular home or office wiring.

But things are different when it comes to outdoor installations, like ground and ungrounded photovoltaic power systems. You see, outdoor conduits for PV wire are usually optional because PV wire is designed to handle outdoor conditions. It’s approved by the NEC for outdoor use, just like the USE-2 (underground service entrance) wire.

Speaking of USE-2 wire, it’s another type of solar cable. It’s mainly used for grounded photovoltaic arrays. PV wire and USE-2 wire have XLPE insulation and are rated for direct burial, but some differences exist. USE-2 wire focuses more on resisting compression and impact, while solar panel wire has thicker insulation for harsh outdoor environments.

Also, PV wires come in different voltage ratings, like 600v, 1kv, and 2kv, whereas USE-2 wires are typically rated at up to 600v. Plus, the temperature rating of PV wire is generally higher than that of USE-2 wire.

For outdoor installations of ground and ungrounded photovoltaic power systems, you may not need conduits for PV wire because it’s already designed to handle outdoor conditions.

Your Best PV Wire Manufacturers

PV wire necessary to build successful solar systems in homes and businesses. They’re instrumental as they’re virtually unbreakable, boast superior insulation, and have safety features to ensure reliability and long life.

If you are looking for a reputable PV Cable manufacturer, ZW Cable, you should consider us the best. We’re famous for developing long-time serving solar cables.

ZW Cable is among the leading suppliers in the world, and we focus on using cutting-edge technology and materials in our cables to make them. Beyond that, we put our cables through rigorous checking and certification to verify their performance and efficiency.

Select ZW Cables and maximize the efficiency of your solar project by reducing power losses. We are all about quality, durability, and ensuring our customers’ satisfaction. Contact us for information and details.


pv wire vs thhn: What’s the difference

PV wire can be rated up to 150°C under wet and dry conditions, making it suitable for extreme temperature requirements. THHN wire has a rating of only 90°C and cannot be used for extreme temperature requirements. The cables used for photovoltaics are made of stranded class 5 conductors in a softer wire. THHN wires are not all stranded and may have solid conductors belonging to class 1.

pv wire vs use-2

PV wire can withstand high temperatures of up to 150°C in wet and dry conditions, making it suitable for extreme temperature requirements. USE-2 wire has a temperature rating of only 90°C and is not ideal for extreme temperature requirements. PV wire 1000v is designed to remain flexible with its stranded conductors, whereas not all USE-2 cables are rated for flexibility.

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About Me
Richard Zi
Richard Zi

My name is Richard Zi, and serve as the General Manager of ZW Cable. With a deep and extensive background of more than 15 years in the cable industry, I am excited to share my wealth of knowledge and experience.ZW Cable is a renowned company in the field of cable manufacturing in world, we specialize in selecting the best cable sizes and effectively solving all your cable challenges. If you have any questions or needs regarding cable solutions, please contact me and I assure you of the highest standards of personalized and effective guidance and support.View All My Posts >>

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