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Ground-mounted PV system Safety Examined

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Ground-mounted PV system Safety Examined

Safety is paramount when it comes to installing, servicing and maintaining a PV system, for system/asset owners, firefighters, and installers alike. In the rooftop sector, PV safety requirements have been developing steadily, with ground fault detection being required by the US National Electrical Code (NEC) in the 1990s, followed by arc fault detection and PV rapid shutdown in the 2010s. Safety measures for ground-mounted systems in the community solar/utility scale sector, as well as for carports, however, have lagged behind, according to the experts at SolarEdge. Fires in these large-size installations risk greater financial and property loss and endanger vegetation and wildlife.

Power optimizers, which have proved popular in the US rooftop segment to maximize energy production and safety, prevent and minimize worst-case scenarios upon ground and arc faults caused by improper connections and faulty wiring, according to Solaredge. With these conditions often found in ground-mounted and carports applications too, module-level power electronics (MLPE) like power optimizers present an opportunity to maximize safety of personnel and property. In this pv magazine Spotlight, SolarEdge will introduce its new S-Series optimizers and discuss how their features contribute also to the safety of ground-mounted and carport installations.

The S-Series optimizers come with built-in thermal sensors and SAFE DC which detect abnormally high temperatures in the PV system, immediately identifies which modules are at fault, and shuts down the inverter in case of a potential arc risk. The voltage of each module is then reduced to touch-safe DC levels, minimizing the risk of fires, and making the system safer for field workers or firefighters’ intervention in the case of fire. The thermal sensors further help identify improper connections and possible malfunctions in the installation, for early detection and mitigation of arc risks.

Joining this Spotlight from Solaredge are Jason Bobruk, Director Code Compliance, and Kleber Facchini, Director of Technical Marketing, Commercial & Utility. Bill Brooks, NEC Expert and Principal at Brooks Engineering, will add his expertise on NEC to the discussion.

pv magazine Spotlight content:

  • SolarEdge track record in safety
  • What firefighters are saying
  • Why ground mount & carport safety are lagging
  • Safety trends and what insurance companies are paying attention to
  • S-series power optimizers introduction
  • Q&A

We encourage you to ask questions, which can be submitted beforehand or during the Spotlight through a chat window. Beatriz Santos, manager webinar program and strategy at pv magazine, will be the host of this Spotlight. pv magazine is hosting this Spotlight on behalf of our partner, SolarEdge, which is responsible for the content. For more information on our pv magazine Spotlights, please visit https://www.pv-magazine.com/spotlights

Speakers

Jason Bobruk | Director Code Compliance, SolarEdge

Jason Bobruk is the Director of Code compliance at SolarEdge. He has over 17 years of experience in renewable energy and has contributed to deploying a breadth of cutting-edge solutions from record high efficiency solar modules to record efficiency inverters with integrated EV chargers and batteries. He’s served on numerous standards writing committees, building and electrical code panels, and policy intervening groups, while collaborating with industry leaders on renewable energy policies.

Kleber Facchini | Director of Technical Marketing, Commercial & Utility, SolarEdge

Kleber Facchini has over 15 years in electrical engineering, applications and product management in the renewables and utility equipment industry. As Director of Technical Marketing, Commercial & Utility at SolarEdge he is responsible for conceiving, defining, and launching all related products across the continent. He also oversees the applications engineering team, who work directly with our installer partners.

Bill Brooks | Principal, Brooks Engineering

Bill Brooks is the Principal of Brooks Engineering and has over 30 years of experience designing, installing, and evaluating grid-connected PV systems. He has written numerous technical manuals and articles for the PV industry that are widely used throughout the US and beyond. Mr. Brooks is an active participant on many national and international codes and standards panels including UL1703, UL1741, and UL2703 Standards Technical Panels. He represents the Photovoltaic Industry Code Council on Code Making Panel 4 of the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Hosts

Beatriz Santos | Manager webinar program and strategy, pv magazine

Beatriz has been working in the solar industry since 2020. She is responsible for the strategy and management of the webinar program at pv magazine. She also writes for the global platform and print magazine, with a focus on policy and European market trends. Beatriz graduated from the University of Oxford with a research master's degree in philosophy. She enjoys analysing complex information and conducting research that improves people's lives and society.

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