Most utility-grade solar plants with hundreds of arrays and thousands of panels are designed in east/west rows to easily follow the path of the sun. From high above, everything appears neat and square. But there’s more to cabling a solar plant than managing the north/south “home run” pathways that carry DC power from the ends of each row to the interconnection point for conversion to AC power.
Look a little closer underneath the rows and you’ll see dozens of 6, 8, or 10 gauge wires dangling from individual panels before reaching a combiner box at the end of each row for connection to high amperage cables (that should be running on the Solar Snake Max™ trenchless solar wire management system).
De-rate, the need to reduce electrical capacity running through bundled cables to prevent heat buildup, is not an issue at low voltages, so these cables are often simply wire or zip-tied together and attached to the panel support piles.
The problem is that these plastic straps fail quickly due to constant expansion and contraction from exposure to outdoor elements and changing temperatures; in itself a never-ending maintenance job on a large array. When the wire ties snap, the cables sag, causing new stress points. Cables lying on the ground are unsafe, exposed to damage from rodents, and can be accidentally cut when vegetation maintenance is performed.
A damaged cable in a bundle is difficult to repair, as every tie in the row from the failure point forward must be undone and redone to replace it. Further, there are more than just low voltage DC power cables in these bundles. There are network data lines for weather sensors and panel performance monitoring, grounding cables, as well as AC cables to power the motors that allow the panels to track with the sun. These cables require equally effective management and separation as high amperage cables for a maximum return on solar plant investment, but are often overlooked.
No longer. From the innovative minds at Snake Tray comes the Solar Click-n-Go Cable Hanger, available in single and double configurations, Solar Click-n-Go Cable Hangers easily convey all east/west cables in one convenient piece without any tools, cutting, or specialized installation requirements. Cables are kept separate yet organized.
Openable and lockable with a secure click closure system, Solar Click-n-Go Cable Hangers easily hook onto ¼” messenger wire. Both hangers offer multiple cavities to separate power from communication and ground cables, are constructed from lightweight, corrosion-free polycarbonate, and are designed to last for up to 30 years in all types of weather conditions.
Simply open the L-shaped middle cavity to attach the hanger to the messenger wire and slide it into the desired position, optimally spaced at 24 inches up to four feet. The weight of the cables once loaded keeps the hangers in place. To load, remove, replace, or add cables at any time, unlock one of the cavities (upper for AC power and control wires, lower for DC power cables) and drop the cable(s) into place. Removing a damaged cable is easy; just disconnect it from the source and pull; no tension from zip-tied bundles up the line. Adaptable to changing requirements, installers can add or remove solar panels, weather monitoring equipment, or upgrade networking cables as needed on any east/west conveyance without disturbing the existing cable infrastructure or adding more hangers.
The Single Solar Click-n-Go Cable Hanger has a maximum load weight of 65 pounds, more than sufficient to carry multiple low voltage wires or up to two 500 Kcmil cables with no need to de-rate.
The more robust Double Solar Click-n-Go Cable Hanger is Snake Tray’s latest addition to our solar cable management product line, providing versatile cable conveyance possibilities over any type of terrain. It offers separate left and right side cavities to handle up to 300 pounds of east/west cables, equivalent to eight 500 Kcmil cables, in addition to control/communications cables running through the top cavity.
Both hangars allow for easy installation and can reduce the time and expense of east/west solar plant cable routing by up to 50% while drastically minimizing or eliminating post-installation maintenance. The Solar Click-n-Go Hanger is another example of how Snake Tray offers innovative solutions to old problems. Visit us at snaketray.com and let us show you how to save time and money on your next solar cabling project.
Snake Tray has revolutionized the data and power distribution market with cable management, power distribution systems and enclosures all designed to install quickly, reduce labor and material costs, and significantly drive down the total cost of construction. If you would like to learn more, visit us at snaketray.com. Our engineers and sales teams stand ready to help execute your next cabling project with maximum efficiency and profitability.