Although wire management is one of the most important aspects of a photovoltaic (PV) system, it’s also commonly overlooked during installation. Wires must be properly routed, organized, supported, and protected so that they can endure the often harsh environments in which solar power systems are used.
To ensure proper installation, wires must be run in such a way that they avoid sharp corners, direct exposure to sunlight, excessive bending, or anything else that could damage the insulation and conductor. They must also be bundled and labeled, making them easily identifiable for future maintenance or emergencies, and secured with the appropriate components and fasteners.
Solar panels and PV systems have a typical life expectancy of 20-30+ years. When all wires are properly managed, the system is much more likely to last and will require fewer repairs over the course of its lifetime. For the inevitable maintenance needed over time, however, proper wire management allows maintenance personnel to more easily troubleshoot and target problems.
Poor wire management can lead to serious consequences; damaged wire insulation has been the source of at least two major PV array fires in the United States in the past ten years. Stringing conductors along sharp edges, improperly identifying conductors, or polarizing the wrong combiner boxes are all common errors that can result in short circuits.
Wire fastening components must fit properly to keep the system safe. Fastening wires too tightly or bending cables past their minimum radius can cause stress on the insulation, increased resistance, and overheating — ultimately leading to power losses or fires. Installers must also account for thermal expansion or risk damage at roof edges and box fittings. These oversights can cause fires or lethal voltages.
Weather must also be considered during installation. Solar panels, by their very nature, of course, are meant to be outside. Their wires and inner workings, therefore, need protection from harsh environments. They must be shielded from direct sunlight, able to withstand extreme temperature ranges, and sealed to protect from water immersion.
How Keats Can Help
At Keats Manufacturing Co. — a supplier of high-quality custom small metal stampings, wire forms, and assemblies — we provide simplified wire management solutions. Designed for easy installation and long-service life, our stainless steel, corrosion-resistant wire and cable management clips make it easy to organize the power and ground wires that run between solar panels.
Using state-of-the-art tooling and metal stamping, our experienced technicians can build clips in any size or style to meet your needs, keeping your wires securely in place with a clean, sleek aesthetic.
To learn more about our custom wire and cable management solutions, visit our comprehensive product page.