What is the difference between AC & DC cable and Why DC cable is used for solar panel?

What is a DC cable and how are they different from AC cables?

The DC cable is entirely different from the AC cable its construction is different, the DC cables do power evacuation in a different way. We must not use AC cable for DC power evacuation. DC cables can be seen in solar power plant, copper is the major material used for the DC cable, and this material is used because of its better flexibility, current carrying capacity, and also because of its thermal performance. We won’t be able to see skin effect in DC cables as in AC cables and because of this, the difference in copper per unit length would affect the power evacuation capability of the cable.

We use AC power to do the power transmission and it is also used in our household appliances, power transmission is done in AC because we can increase or decrease the voltage according to our need and due to this the current will be low while transmission so it is suitable for power transmission. The AC cables will be single insulated while the DC cables are double insulated. The copper wire in the DC wire is tinned copper wire which is to protect the wire from rust and other environmental hazards. The thickness of the DC cable strands will be smaller than the AC cables.

Why we use DC wire in solar panel?

The DC wire is used in places where self-generation of power takes place like solar panel or batteries. The DC wires are mostly double insulated because it is mostly used for outdoor applications. The current carrying capability of DC cable is better than the AC cable.

What are the failures that can be seen in DC cables

The major causes of DC cable failures are


The DC cable’s service life would be affected if it is operated beyond the operating conditions that it is designed for, because of the aging the insulation failure could happen, and due to this, the conductor would be exposed.

Mechanical failure

Mostly this fault is caused by the installation or because of subsequent use and this could reduce the cable integrity and its service life

Shielding losses/Electromagnetic problems

The electromagnetic interference would increase if the shield breaks in the cable that is supposed to protect the cable from electromagnetic fields.

How to select the DC cables

The DC cables are used in solar panels so it will be situated outdoor, so the selected DC cable must withstand certain factors.

  • High temperature
  • UV radiation
  • Fire
  • Ozone
  • Water
  • Shock

The DC cable should be selected according to factors such as voltage drop, String DC cable strands, operating voltage, etc.


post-graduate in Electronics & communication.

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