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Burying the Solar Cable

Last time, I showed you how Dan wired the solar panels. The next step was running the cables which will connect the panels to the charge controller (which will connect to the batteries). For that we needed multi-stranded copper wire cables with solar connectors on the ends. We needed two, one for positive and one for negative.

Solar cables. More at Amazon.

Before I could buy them, I needed to know the correct size. Size depends on panel array voltage, amperage, distance from the batteries, and acceptable voltage loss (typically 3-5%). I ran our numbers through several online calculators and the results were all the same – size 12 American Wire Gauge (AWG).  Even so, larger cable would further minimize power loss, so I bought 10 AWG, which is the next larger size. If we had to go a farther distance, we would have used 8 AWG.

The cable comes in pairs, one black and one red. Since the connectors are already attached, it was just a matter of burying them. Of course, Dan had help.

Snoopervisor Meowy bossing the job.

It's a span of about 30 feet, but the ground was moist for easy digging.

Electrical codes dictate whether and how different types of cable can be buried. Ours is rated for either direct burial or in a conduit or raceway. Dan used PVC pipe because that's what he had.

Two 90-degree elbows finished it on the panel end.

Ready to plug in after all the parts are in place.

It goes under the driveway . . .

Checking trench width and depth.

. . . to where the battery box will be.

Battery box will go here, allowing enough room
to open the little crawlspace door on the right.

This will be a good spot for the batteries. It's outside, which is important for battery off-gassing. It's accessible, making it convenient for battery inspection and maintenance. It's close to where the freezer will be, which is on the back porch above the crawlspace door. It's shaded all day, which will help keep the batteries cooler in hot weather. In summer, Dan puts a vent fan in the crawlspace door, which means we can blow the crawlspace-cooled air across the batteries. That's very good considering how hot our summers can be. An added bonus is that we'll finally get that ugly last patch of the old exterior siding replaced! Yay! (This must have been what we were waiting for, lol.)

The next step is getting the batteries and building the box.

Burying the Solar Cable © November 2019