While low-voltage cable often refers to what is used to wire audiovisual and fire alarm equipment, it also describes lower voltage electric grid distribution cable, as contrasted with the high-voltage cable used on transmission lines.
Technavio’s report, “Global Low-Voltage Power Cable Market 2016–2020,” estimates that the global low-voltage power cable market will reach $150 billion within the next three years. To calculate the market size, the report considered the revenue generated from end-user industries, such as power, automobile, mining, oil and gas, residential and commercial construction, and other process industries, like cement and chemicals.
A rising demand for electricity has fueled development in the power generation, transmission and distribution (T&D) sectors. The demand for equipment, such as low-voltage cable, is increasing with the growth in generation and T&D infrastructure.
A low-voltage cable derives its demand from the deployment of distribution transformers in distribution networks. These transformers are mainly used in the utility sector, followed by the industrial and commercial sectors. In 2015, the utility sector accounted for almost 80 percent of market revenue. This trend is likely to drive the growth of the market over the forecast period.
“Low-voltage cables are deployed in T&D networks of smart grids,” said Anju Ajaykumar, one of Technavio’s lead industry analysts for IT spending by region and industry. “Moreover, the addition of novel appliances—such as heat pumps, electric vehicles charging stations, and solar panels—to the distribution networks further necessitates the use of low-voltage cables in their interconnection.”
Smart-grid systems incorporate automated software and electronic hardware, such as meters, switches and relays, that guarantee smooth and appropriate electricity T&D by upgrading and controlling operational processes over a network.
In solar-power generation, for example, low-voltage cables connect the panel to the combiner box, the combiner box to the inverter, and the inverter to the transformer. Medium-voltage cables connect the transformer to the substation, and high-voltage and extra-high-voltage cables connect the substation to the grid.
In wind energy, the cables are used in the nacelle of the wind turbine to connect the tower to the grid. Low- and medium-voltage cables are employed in the wind turbine, and their technical specifications depend on the type of generator and the location of transformers that can be installed inside the nacelle and in the tower to connect the low-voltage generator in the nacelle to the transformer.
Growing penetration of renewable-energy sources in the power-generation sector will drive future demand for low-voltage cables.