Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Cable

Solar Cables

Solar cables

Which Types of Solar Wire Are Available Through Allied Wire and Cable?

For What Applications Can I Use Solar Wire?

Solar wires are used as wiring for solar panels and photovoltaic arrays. Solar power cables can also be used with underground entrances and to connect service terminals. Be sure to check cables for compatibility with grounded or ungrounded systems. In general, USE-2 wire may be used only with grounded circuits. Photovoltaic wire (PV wire) can be used in grounded and ungrounded systems.

What Is the UL Rating for Photovoltaic Wire (PV Wire)?

UL Style number UL 4703 applies to photovoltaic wire (PV wire) used to connect grounded and ungrounded photovoltaic power systems. Visit UL's website for more information on specifications for solar cables. To see our selection of photovoltaic wire, also known as PV wire, click here. 

What Are the Differences Between USE-2 Solar Wire and Photovoltaic Wire (PV Wire)?

  • Characteristics
    • USE-2 is crush- and impact-resistant.
    • Photovoltaic wire has thicker insulation and jacketing, better sunlight resistance, flame resistance and better flexibility at low temperatures.
  • Technical data
    • USE-2 wire is rated to 90 degrees Celsius in wet and dry conditions. USE-2 solar cables are rated to 600 volts.
    • Photovoltaic wire is rated to 90 degrees Celsius in wet and 150 degrees Celsius in dry conditions. PV wire can be rated to 600, 1000 or 2000 volts.
  • Applications:
    • USE-2 solar wire is designed for connecting PV modules and can be used only with grounded PV arrays.
    • Photovoltaic wire is designed as underground service entrance wire and can be used in grounded and ungrounded PV arrays. 

Are PV Wire and USE-2 Wire Appropriate for Above-Ground or Underground Applications?

Both single-conductor PV wire and single-conductor USE-2 wire are appropriate for use in exposed outdoor arrays, according to Sec. 690.31 (B) of the National Electrical Code (NEC). According to UL experts, however, it is now more common to choose PV wire for exposed applications and USE-2 wire for underground use.

Can I Use THHN Wire Instead of PV Wire or USE-2 Solar Wire to Save Money?

No, not to replace photovoltaic wire or USE-2 solar wire. THHN wire is general-purpose building wire that can be used in many applications in many industries. Although THHN wire can be used in some solar applications and is cheaper than many solar cables, it cannot be used where standards call for photovoltaic wire or USE-2. Doing so could cause failures, as THHN lacks the added construction strengths of specialized cables such as photovoltaic and USE-2 wire.

Can I Customize My Solar Cables?

Absolutely! Customization services for photovoltaic wire (PV Wire), USE-2 solar wire and THHN for solar applications include custom printing and stripping. For THHN, we also offer cut and strip as well as twisting.

What Types of Connectors Are Available for Solar Cables?

Tyco brand MC3 connectors non-locking connectors, MC4 locking connectors and SOLARLOK® connectors are made for solar power cables. We can do solar cable assemblies with these connectors at your request.


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