Case study

Innovative solar park solutions power the global energy transition

solar park

Olivier Dervout, Nexans Global Market Director Power Generation and Alain Robic, CEO of Nexans Solar Technologies, explain how a developing portfolio of cables, harnesses and trackers is helping developers of solar parks to boost their output while optimizing investment and operating costs.

Nexans is fully committed to supporting the global energy transition by working closely with developers, installers and operators to expand our Nexans Keylios® solar products portfolio that provides full end-to-end energy, data cabling and tracker solutions. This includes solar copper cable, low-voltage (LV) direct current (DC) underground aluminum cable, medium-voltage (MV) alternating current (AC) cables for grid connections, pre-connected jumpers and solar trackers – all supported by a dedicated Services & Solutions team. The focus is on easy installation and decreased on-site risks to offer substantial CAPEX and OPEX savings.

The sun rises on Australia’s solar power market

Australia is enjoying a boom period with its solar power capacity set to almost double to over 12 GW. Nexans is playing a key role in this growth by supplying specialized power cables for the country’s solar farms. Recently, contracts have been completed for six major new projects in the states of Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW).

The six cable supply contracts were placed with Nexans Olex by Biosar Australia, a leading global solar farm EPC contractor. They covered the supply of medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) direct current (DC) cables for the Kiamal, Susan River, Childers, Oakey II, Nevertire and Middlemount solar farm projects. The scope of supply covered a wide range of Keylios products including underground 33 kV cables, underground 1,500 V low voltage cables, photovoltaic (PV) under-array cables, underground data cables, inverter to transformer connectors, communication, tracker controls and associated accessories.

We worked with Biosar Australia throughout the design stages of all six projects to provide specialist engineering support, covering standards and specifications as well as cable and system design support. The power and control cabling was manufactured and supplied by our China plant in Yanggu and our Olex plant in Lilydale, Australia, supported by a range of Nexans Olex specialist manufacturing partners. All the underground power cables incorporate the Nexans Olex EcoTerm™ solution that provides an effective barrier to degradation from termites.

The generating capacity of the six solar farms will total 672 MW, enough electricity to power over 600,000 homes. They were commissioned between 2019 and early 2020 and we are continuing to invest in ongoing cable testing and innovation to meet the requirements of Australia’s renewable energy projects.

Harness solution for a 15% reduction in solar farm LV DC cabling costs

Building on our expertise in cables for solar projects, we designed the new Keylios Photovoltaic Harness to help developers, installers and operators of utility-scale solar farms cut the LV DC cabling costs for their photovoltaic modules. This is a key consideration because a solar farm can require huge amounts of LV DC cable, more than 4,000 kilometers for the largest sites. Less cabling makes it possible to reduce the size and cost of components, such as connection boxes. Smarter use of materials also limits the overall environmental impact of the installation.

Specifying a harness removes the need for cables to be cut to length on site, as the complete assembly of cables and connectors is manufactured under controlled factory conditions and delivered ready to fit. This offers both improved quality and reliability by reducing the number of connection points – 50 percent of all faults on solar farms are due to cables and connectors. Furthermore, the very significant reduction in installation time and material wastage can reduce the overall cost of LV DC cabling by up to 15 percent.

Each Keylios Photovoltaic Harness is sized and manufactured on a bespoke basis and delivered as an easy to handle kit that ensures it will be a perfect match for the customer’s installation. It is also ready to connect, with no cutting or crimping required on site.

To ensure maximum quality and reliability, the harnesses are manufactured under factory controlled conditions using Nexans’ Energyflex® cables designed specifically for use in solar plants. The cables are precision cut and joints ultrasonically welded, decreasing potential defects significantly. Junctions and inline fuses are overmolded to meet the IP67 rating. 

Our global footprint means that Keylios Photovoltaic Harnesses can be delivered for any project worldwide. The harnesses can also be manufactured in-country for customers who need to maximize the local content of their projects.

Nexans Solar solutions

Nexans is an innovative provider of a full range of cable solutions and associated services covering both Energy and Data Infrastructures to ensure prolonged efficiency and reliability of Solar Farm assets, while reducing initial investment and long-term operating costs.

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