Dig a trench end-to-end to bury cables, or dig holes to plant above ground pilings?
Guess where a buried cable failure point may be, or easily access cables for repair and replacement?
Use thicker conductors to compensate for underground de-rate, or carry all the PV energy the array can produce on 50% less cable size?
The National Electric Code (NEC) section 690.110.12 for the mechanical execution of work states, “Electrical equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner.” Believe it or not, this is the only current cable management standard for the solar industry in 2019. This is a very subjective definition that is open to liberal interpretation from job to job.
Traditionally, solar plants sell 100% of the energy they produce to utilities as it is generated. There is no storage; every watt sent to the grid is for immediate consumption. When the sun goes down, utilities fire up additional fossil fuel turbines to meet demand.
Building a solar plant is about efficiencies. We’ve come a long way in terms of solar panel technology, evolving from an expensive government-subsidized industry into a self-sustainable energy market sector. However, power generation is a thin margin game, so squeezing the most wattage out of every dollar spent on materials, labor and ongoing repairs is critical to driving profitability.