Making the Case for Solar Snake Max XL in Battery Energy Storage

Battery Energy Storage System

Some utilities are producing so much renewable solar energy that supply is outpacing demand. They need to store that surplus electricity to power the grid with clean energy after sunset and to complement fossil fuel-based energy production during peak consumption periods or unplanned outages. To make that happen utilities are building battery energy storage systems (BESS) adjacent to the solar panel arrays and inverters that transform megawatts of DC current into usable AC power.

Battery storage is a great way for utilities to maximize their investment in solar technology. It’s a really hot topic in the utility industry today, made possible by the simultaneous strides in solar panel energy efficiency and falling panel prices. As a result, many utilities are just now adding BESS to existing solar plants, placing them in whatever space remains available in proximity to the transformers.

Most new solar projects are being designed with BESS in mind from the outset. The one challenge they all share: No two projects are alike. From physical layout and geological issues to the amount of energy produced and stored, retrofitting or planning a new solar array with a BESS will require a completely unique solution design each time.

Fortunately, there is an easily adaptable, repeatable solution: Snake Tray Solar Snake Max XL, the same above ground cable management system used to carry high ampacity DC cables from rows of solar panels to AC inverters has been adapted by Snake Tray engineers for BESS applications. Snake Tray’s system employs a series of molded separators designed to securely carry up to 36 low and medium voltage cables from 350 to 1,250 kcmil over any distance in free air.

In the field, Solar Snake Max XL is supported by posts and tensioned messenger wire running under the rows of solar panel arrays. In a BESS, the same principle of free-air cable conveyance applies, but the cable separators are mounted to galvanized steel or aluminum side rails with optional cover plates for increased protection.

This article will explain the advantages of Solar Snake Max XL use in battery cable management.

6 Reasons for using Solar Snake Max XL in Battery Energy Storage Applications:

  • battery energy systemss eleminate trenchingEliminate trenching. Snake Tray’s trenchless system bypasses the time, expense, and messiness of digging, substantially lowering labor and equipment rental costs. At times, trenching between rows of panels and inverters is not even possible due to the size of earth moving machinery and lack of space for the excavated dirt. Delays occur due to weather, flooding, and unforeseen geo-technical obstacles. Solar plants built on land where digging is prohibited or impossible such as capped landfills or on top of abandoned parking lots, decommissioned airport runways, or old industrial sites require an above-ground cable management solution.

  • Battery Energy Storage System For Maximum Energy StorageMaximum energy harvest. Solar Snake Max XL supports NEC 310.15 code compliant free-air cable separation to eliminate the phenomenon of de-rate, electrical friction created by buried or tightly bound cables that convert energy to heat, thereby reducing energy throughput. Solar Snake Max XL maintains the highest achievable energy transference rates, increasing daily energy harvest up to 30-watt hours per meter over traditional trenching or bundling for the best possible return on investment. Cables stay cooler, and last longer too.

  • Lower material costs. As a result of eliminating de-rate, utilities can use thinner cables to their full capacity and save 25% to 40% on cabling costs over an entire project. For example, rather than burying or bundling 750 kcmil cables, 600 kcmil cables running above ground in free air can handle the same load. That’s a lot of copper savings!

  • Reduced labor costs. Above ground cable management makes it fast and easy for installers to load cables using pre-manufactured components that snap together without the use of tools while maintaining uniform separation for NEC compliance, saving hundreds of man hours in labor. Plus, contractors can hire less skilled labor at lower rates, as cables need not be installed by expert electricians – there is no on-site fabrication.

  • Flexibility. Again, no two projects will be alike. Solar Snake Max XL traverses any type of terrain or ground condition at any length, easily manages changes in elevation or direction, and sidesteps any obstacle or pieces of stationary infrastructure with standardized components. Solar Snake Max XL is universal and works with any kind of inverter and BESS.

  • Simplified maintenance. Post-construction, visibility to the entire cable plant makes it easy for technicians to spot, access, and replace degrading cables, and even add more cables should the plant increase capacity.


Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) + Solar Snake Max XL = Win/Win

Solar Snake Max XL reduces the time and cost of adding a battery energy storage system – BESS to any solar plant. Electrical contractors can increase the profitability of every job through reduced labor expenses. Utilities can recapture salable energy previously lost to heat dissipation and use thinner cables for a better ROI.

While Solar Snake Max XL offers these advantages and more, perhaps the best piece of advice we can give you is to get Snake Tray involved early in the BESS design phase, and not leave cable management as an afterthought. Too often we are brought into a project when it is too late to implement significant changes or avoid obstacles that could save thousands of dollars or speed completion.

Snake Tray engineers have the knowledge and experience to help you plan to do it right, whether adding a BESS to an existing facility or building a new solar plant with a BESS from the ground up. Allow us to optimize the layout of your next solar project to achieve your objectives with minimal materials and cost. Our expert cable management architectural and design skills are included in our services. You have nothing to lose except electrons! Contact Michael Donato, Renewal Energy Solutions Engineer at 631-674-0004 or to discuss your next project.

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