Before you start doing even the simplest electrical wiring job, it is vital that you ask yourself a few very important questions.
Is this something I’m knowledgeable about? How safe is this? Would it be better to ask for a professionals help?
If this is a DIY home solar panel project, it’s necessary that you understand what’s going on, or you may be putting yourself in danger and breaking your insurance policies. If you are thinking of attempting a homemade Photovoltaic (PV) system project on your own, you really should get an all-encompassing DIY solar guide to that type of project.
Even though solar panels themselves are not too difficult to build, for your project to be successful you need to be aware of some technical aspects and other practical points. Depending on a number of things, such as panels, your controller, the storage, and how far your cabling will have to run, you will need to be certain that your cables are of the correct thickness or gauge.
It’s important that the wiring inside the panel and the wiring that leads to the storage system has been done correctly. Also, it’s necessary for the cable to be the right gauge when you connect the solar panel array to your storage system.
An easy rule of thumb, is when buying electrical wire, the smaller the gauge, the thicker the wire will be. To do a proper install on any solar project, you need to ascertain the proper gauge and amperage on each of your wires.
When you run your cables, you will have to find out the power rating of the solar panel and how far the cables will be running to the storage system or the controller. No matter what the electrical wire is made of, it will have some resistance to it.
This resistance will increase as the diameter wire becomes smaller, and as the length of the wire increases. So using the right diameter of wire is vital to your projects success. Otherwise you will suffer dramatic drops in voltage as the electricity travels to the storage unit.
To avoid this, ensure the correct size of wire is used. This is especially true if the run is over 50 feet. Then you will want to use an even lower gauge or thicker wire, in contrast to the wire used in shorter runs.
Another side-effect of using the wrong gauge is that the wires will heat up because of all of the resistance and this will further lessen the voltage that will reach your storage unit. This can also be a severe safety concern. If you suddenly over-load you are at risk of a short out, and a possible fire hazard.
Make certain that you know the distance that the cables will be running, and the size of the load that they will be handling, and you will have much more success.