Before you can begin producing clean renewable energy, you will need wiring to connect the components of your renewable energy system together. The type and size of wire are important considerations, and we encourage you to watch our video on wiring you solar power system below. Identifying the proper gauge wire is essential to a safe and code compliant system.
When wiring your system, it’s important to make sure safety is a top priority. Our best practices for wiring photovoltaic systems come from the National Electric Code (NEC) in the United States.
For a more complete description of wiring sizing, check the following references:
- Wiring Mismatched Solar Panels in Series and Parallel
- How To: Wiring Solar Panels in Parallel with Couplers
Wiring Your Solar Power System
Most solar modules are now manufactured with Multi-contact Solarline connectors, (MC connectors, for short) which make for an easy Series connection. Connecting solar modules together in Parallel can be easy as well, if you have the right products. MC connectors provide a connection between the solar modules and Combiner & Pass-Through Boxes. The proper length of your MC connector will be about double the distance between the solar array and the combiner box. Simply plug the MC connector into the leads of the solar module, cut the connector in half, and then run the bare ends of the connector to the combiner box. Do not cut the MC leads from your solar panel! This may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Solar Cables and Solar Wiring
Alt E offers several specialty wiring components to help complete your system. Battery Interconnect Cables and Battery to Inverter Cables cables will be necessary for any system with batteries. We also offer crimping Cable & Wire Tools if you would like to make your own battery cables. In addition to wiring between solar modules, between batteries, and between the battery bank and inverter, you will also need wiring from the combiner box to the battery bank – sometimes known as the home-run. Because wire is available in most locations, the wire size needed can vary, and wire tends to be heavy, and expensive to ship, we tend not to sell it by the foot.
Finally, grounding your system is a critical aspect of installing a safe renewable energy system. For any solar electric system on a dwelling, you will need grounding lugs with set screws per module to meet NEC requirements for connecting a continuous ground wire to all modules in an array and having the ability to remove a module without breaking grounding continuity for the rest of the array. If you are unsure how to properly ground your system, please consult a licensed electrician as well as the manufacturers guidelines .
Do you have questions about wiring you solar panels or about cables and wiring? Give an altE solar expert a call today at 877-878-4060.