When it comes to solar energy, your photovoltaic (PV) system is only as good as its condition. Using surge protection devices for solar PV installations is, therefore, something that cannot be overlooked. Because, in addition to ensuring a secure and reliable power system, solar SPDs help you avoid costly repairs or replacements. We compiled a list of the benefits that these devices offer.
What is SPD in Solar System?
SPD stands for Surge Protection Device. It’s essentially an active electronic device that limits voltage surges to prevent damage to electrical equipment. In most cases, it consists of a metal-oxide varistor (MOV) that can conduct a high amount of energy during a surge event and then quickly return to its normal state of high resistance.
The surge protection device’s function is to divert excess voltage away from sensitive equipment. A sudden surge in voltage can damage or destroy sensitive electronic components, which is why SPDs are so important for PV systems.
These devices are typically installed at the point where power enters a building or structure as well as where it goes to the various loads, both on the DC and AC sides. Now that you understand what a solar SPD is and what it does, let’s see why these devices are a crucial part of PV installations.
Benefits of Surge Protection Devices for Solar PV Systems
An SPD is essentially a sacrificial component that absorbs the excess voltage and dissipates it safely, thereby protecting the rest of the system from damage. There are several benefits that surge protection devices for solar PV installations offer, which are listed below.
Improved System Performance
When your solar PV system is properly protected against voltage surges, you can expect improved overall performance. This is because the risk of damage to sensitive components is reduced, allowing the system to operate at optimal levels.
There are minimal disruptions and more consistent power output, which leads to better system efficiency and higher ROI. This is important when it comes to solar farms that must maintain high levels of productivity to be profitable.
Solar surge protection devices are also important in smaller solar power systems too, which must power a facility and do so reliably.
Enhanced Equipment Safety
As we mentioned earlier, voltage surges can damage or destroy sensitive electronic components in your PV power system. This is not only costly in terms of repairs and replacements, but it can also pose a safety hazard.
In addition to protecting the solar system components such as inverters and solar panels, solar SPD devices guard electrical equipment in a power system including TVs, computers, home appliances, and office equipment.
By using surge protection devices for PV system protection, you can help to ensure the safety of your equipment and avoid the possibility of electrical fires. This is a major requirement in PV systems that are located in areas with severe weather conditions.
Longer Equipment Lifespan
Another big SPD benefit is that the devices help to prolong the lifespan of your equipment. Solar panels are designed to withstand a certain level of voltage, but anything beyond that could cause damage.
A sudden spike in voltage – known as a transient voltage – can come from several sources, including lightning strikes, power outages, and faulty wiring.
When that happens, the electrical current can overload and damage sensitive components within your solar panels. This not only reduces the efficiency of your system but also decreases its lifespan. By using an SPD device, you can protect your equipment from transients and extend its lifespan.
Another benefit of surge protection device use is money savings. While the initial cost of investing in SPDs may seem high, it’s important to remember that they offer long-term cost savings. This is because they help to prevent damage caused by transients, which can be expensive to repair.
In most cases, the damage caused by a single transient event costs more than the SPD itself.
In the long run, using SPDs can save you money. This is because they help to prevent damage caused by transients, which can be expensive to repair.
Enhanced System Reliability
This is another major SPD benefit. When your solar PV system is properly protected, you can count on it to be there when you need it. This is because SPDs help to prevent power surges that can damage or destroy equipment.
This is especially important for businesses that rely on solar power for their operations. SPD devices give peace of mind by ensuring that your system will be up and running when you need it, even when the installation is located in an area with severe weather conditions.
Buying Surge Protector
When choosing surge protection devices for solar PV protection, it’s important to select one that’s specifically designed for this type of equipment. Solar panels are delicate and require special protection. So, be sure to select an SPD that’s rated for use with solar PV systems.
It’s also important to choose an SPD that has a high surge current rating when buying surge protector devices for your PV system. This is the amount of current that the device can handle before it trips or shuts off: the higher the rating, the better.
Finally, make sure to install your SPD as close to the solar panel array as possible. This also applies to other components, especially critical loads. It will help to ensure that it’s able to provide the maximum level of protection.
Surge protection devices for PV systems are a reliable way to protect a solar installation from transients because solar energy systems, like any electrical system, are vulnerable to power surges. These devices are designed to protect equipment from damage by absorbing or redirecting the surge of electrical current. This ensures that your solar system and equipment remain operational and can help to prolong their lifespan.