To protect a solar farm from lightning strikes
Solar farms are just big fields covered with conductive material. They’re almost asking for a lightning strike, which can damage or destroy solar panels, inverters and other critical equipment. So it’s no surprise that lightning activity and surge-related over-voltage abnormalities are identified as leading causes of solar project downtime.
early streamer emitter (ESE) terminal lightning protection Lightning can be destructive even when it’s not a direct hit. Indirect lightning events generate an electromagnetic force that induces overvoltage and transients on AC and DC power conductors and data lines.
The good news is solar owners and developers can protect their investment from the fallout of lightning strikes. Engineers at Topbas Grup, a global manufacturer and installer of grounding and other lightning protection technologies, have identified methods to bolster a project’s ability to withstand lightning-related hazards.
While there is typically no code requirement for solar farm owners to install lightning protection, there are internationally recognized standards and methods to determine the requirement of lightning protection systems, and it’s a bright idea to take action.
Lightning is a common cause of failures in photovoltaic (PV) and wind-electric systems. A damaging surge can occur from lightning that strikes a long distance from the system, or even between clouds. But most lightning damage is preventable. Here are some of the most cost-effective techniques that are generally accepted by power system installers, based on decades of experience. Follow this advice, and you have a very good chance of avoiding lightning damage to your renewable energy (RE) system.Lightning Rods
“Lightning rods” are static discharge devices that are placed above buildings and solar-electric arrays, and connected to ground. They are meant to prevent the buildup of static
charge and eventual ionization of the surrounding atmosphere. They can help prevent a strike, and can provide a path for very high current to ground if a strike does occur.
Modern devices are spike-shaped, often with multiple points.Lighting rods are typically only used at sites that experience extreme electrical storms. If you think your site falls into this category, hire a contractor who has experience in lightning protection. If your system installer is not so qualified, consider consulting with a lightning protection specialist before the system is installed.
As an alternative to the traditional Franklin rod system, early streamer emitter (ESE) type lightning air terminals can protect a solar farm. The Umbraeco ESE terminal provides large protection zones as per National French standard NF C 17-102 (2011). Umbraeco ESE terminals can be installed on independent masts with radial lightning protection ground systems with single-point reference to the electrical grid.
This configuration provides necessary protection zones, effectively dissipating lightning energy to the ground and helps to insulate the solar panels and inverter stations from damage. The other benefit of this system is that there will likely be significantly lower cost of labor and material to install the entire system as compared to a traditional Franklin rod system.