one of the most important is a PV earthing array system.
All over the world, there is an increasing interest in using renewable energy. While the initial costs are high, it is worth the long-term benefits. More than going green, this is also an excellent way to minimize electricity bills in the long run. Unsurprisingly, solar farms are built globally with the goal of creating a large-scale system that can feed electricity to thousands of end users.
Building solar farms and similar facilities, however, is not an easy feat. Several requirements should be met, not just for compliance but to also promote safety. Among others, one of the most important is a PV earthing array system. It is a technical concept, so many of you are probably unaware of what it is and why it is important. If that’s the case, keep on reading this short guide and learn from some of the insights we’ll be sharing.
What is Earthing?
Earthing is all about connecting the non-current-carrying parts of a solar system to the earth or ground. This is intended to transfer the electrical charge to the earth. The main goal of earthing is the creation of a zero-potential surface around the area where an electrical component is present.
While earthing and grounding are two terms that are used interchangeably, theoretically, there are also key differences. Grounding requires a connection of current-carrying components. This is as opposed to earthing wherein you are connecting components that do not carry current.
Why is Earthing Necessary?
Now that we have briefly defined PV earthing, the next thing that you need to learn is why it is needed. Among others, it is beneficial in terms of preventing the flow of heavy fault currents. As a result, it creates a safer environment, minimizing the presence of electrical hazards. More so, earthing a PV array system is also essential for improving the reliability of the power supply.
Is Earthing Needed?
Not all types of solar systems need to be earthed. There are only specific situations where such is necessary. Among other situations, it is needed when it is near a lightning conductor system. Such vicinity can increase the chances of an electrical risk, which makes earthing necessary.
Additionally, earthing is also recommended when you are using a solar inverter without a transformer. Having a built-in transformer is important in an inverter because it steps up the voltage that is produced by the system. Having no transformer may seem beneficial in terms of simplicity, but it does not come without problems. Shocks and surges are common when there is no transformer. Hence, this is another situation when earthing is necessary.
Earthing also protects the equipment. Solar panels and inverters are expensive, especially the ones with top-notch quality. Hence, they should be protected from fluctuations and other electrical problems. One of the best ways to ensure the latter is through earthing.
Also, earthing is essential when there are big metal structures that are used in the installation of solar panels. This is commonly the situation in solar farms and other large-scale facilities. This will help in lessening the possibility of shocks and other dangerous circumstances.
Must-Haves for PV Earthing Array System
As you know by now, PV earthing isn’t a straightforward concept. Many people are unaware of how it actually works. It is divided into different steps, each with its respective functions and benefits.
Among others, one of the most important is soil resistivity testing. It measures soil volume to determine its conductivity. This is in turn expressed as ohm-centimeter or ohm-meter. This is one of the most important earthing requirements. The goal is to find a specific location where the resistance is at a minimum. This will minimize the risks associated with the solar installation. Moisture content, temperature, and soil composition are just some of the things that will have an impact on the outcome of this test.
More so, software modeling is another crucial component of PV earthing. Technology has gone a long way, and it is proving to be more than beneficial in the installation of solar arrays. With the help of computers and the right programs, it is easy to derive useful insights about solar installations. It measures earth conductors and their impacts on the PV system. This will be highly crucial in designing an effective system.
Testing may be costly, but it is necessary
The tests should be concentrated on the main solar and collection sub-station, among other parts. By conducting the right tests, it is easier to ensure safety and optimal performance of the entire system.
It is also important that we talk about how earthing is done. Below, we’ll give you a quick look at some of the most common processes:
- Plate Earthing: A galvanized iron or copper plate is used for this procedure. The plate is positioned vertically less than three meters from the ground.
- Pipe Earthing: It uses a galvanized steel pipe, which is buried in a wet pit. This is the most popular earthing method. In most instances, the diameter of the pipe is 1.5 inches, but this can vary depending on the soil conditions.
- Rod Earthing: It is comparable to pipe earthing, but the main difference is that a rod is used. It is made of a copper rod around a galvanized steel pipe. This can be installed on the ground using a hammer.
Components Needed for PV Earthing in solar pv system
Successful PV earthing will depend on the components that are used. Only those with exceptional quality should be prioritized given how important it is in the set-up of the solar array system.
Among others, one of the most important is the earth cable, most of which will be made of copper strips instead of a bare rod. This is important for connecting all of the metallic components in a PV system. To add, you will also need an earthing joint. This will fix all the connectors that will be earthed. An earth plate is also necessary. This will be hidden underground. There should be low resistance so that it can carry fault current to the ground without a risk.
It is also necessary for PV earthing array system to have protection from lightning and surges. The solar farm can suffer from devastating impacts in the absence of such. It may be costly adding lighting and surge protection, but the benefits will be worth it. A single lighting strike can have devastating impacts on the array system, so it is important to stay protected.
Conclusion for earthing in solar pv system
In sum, PV earthing is one of the most important steps in the installation of a solar array system. This is especially the case in large-scale applications, such as solar farm. Through earthing, the risks are significantly minimized while maximizing the efficiency and overall performance of the system.
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