Solar Inverter Shutdown after heavy Thunderstorm? Here is The Solution

During violent thunderstorms, static electricity can damage electrical gadgets, even though there is no source of power. Electricity surges can be caused by lightning strikes on power lines, which send electricity past the cables and then into your domestic appliances. The voltage rises up to the 279-volt mark will cause a lot of damage to equipment that operates on 220-volt AC.

Thunderstorm-induced spikes can reach up to several thousand volts in some instances. The use of equipment can serve to protect your equipment from being damaged by lightning strikes. To be safe, unplug your equipment and detach inverters, computer systems, and wire lines during severe thunderstorms.

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Surge voltage levels (temporarily large electrical shots from thunderstorms) getting passed through into the TV antenna array, Cable discs, or any electrical cables on the roof of the building would be the only danger throughout thundering storms and lightning. Any electronic circuit device that comes in contact with these surge voltages will be damaged.

In residences with electronic earth wires on the ceiling attached to the land surface in general, this surge power supply will pass through to the Earth without causing serious harm towards the other items in the home or surroundings. In many cases, these voltage sources aren’t properly aligned and don’t work as intended.

Although these surge voltages have a large magnitude, they have a very short duration, which is why they often do not cause much damage because they subside so quickly.

According to electricity flow fundamentals, no appliances should be connected to electrical lines throughout that moment, and any backups, such as generators or inverters, must also be turned off and not used. This harm is unavoidable if you have solar panels on your roof. Lightning will strike your panels, transferring voltage directly to your indoor inverter, causing irreversible damage in the process.

Damage from lightning is mostly caused by currents and voltages that are stimulated as a consequence of the strike.

There are two broad categories:

Solar Inverter Shutdown after heavy Thunderstorm Here is The Solution

  • Lightning is influenced by voltage gradients. Because of this, the probabilities of ground rods on opposite ends of construction can be very distinctive. Earth ground and Device Earthing system Conductor layout can help alleviate this problem to some extent. This can be made worse by integrating the frames of your panels effectively to their own ground electrode.
  • Lightning-induced voltages cause serious damage to AC and DC electrical wiring. Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) in the right locations can help reduce the harm. You can start with a large SPD at your main screen and tiny ones as near as possible to vulnerable devices on your AC side. To decrease stimulated voltages, maintain all the cables in a circuit close to one another and if possible twist, and place the cables in insulating raceways like the appropriately grounded conduit to decrease the voltages.

How to Fix The Damage?

If you’re having trouble with your inverter, you can try restarting it by blinking all lights while attempting to make an uninterrupted beep sound for about 3-5 seconds before power is restored to your home. 

A conventional shutdown and restart of your solar inverter, also known as a “reboot,” can sometimes be necessary. Inverter error messages, or simply checking that all the switches are on, may necessitate this action.

Most likely your inverter came with an owner’s manual, but if not, just try these steps:

  • The AC isolator should be turned off. Your switchboard, meter box, as well as the inverter, might very well have one. For example, it could be called “AC switch” or “Solar Main Switch.”
  • Switch off the DC isolator which should be located underneath the inverter.
  • In other words, it’s time to turn off all the lights. For about 5 minutes, turn it back on and consider leaving it like that.
  • The DC isolator must be turned on first, as transferring DC under load (i.e. with the AC on) might cause the isolator to arc.
  • After you’ve reconnected the solar panel’s main AC switch, you’ll need to wait a few minutes. When an inverter restarts, it will take at least a minute. During this time, you may see flashing lights as the inverter performs internal testing. In addition, as it tests, a wide selection of messages will appear on the computer’s screen. It’s perfectly normal.

Solar and wind-electric power systems are prone to electrical failures lightning strikes. Lightning that hit a considerable distance away from the system, as well as between clouds, can cause a harmful surge to occur. However, the majority of lightning damage can be avoided. 

The following are amongst the most cost-effective methodologies that are commonly acknowledged by power system installers. Those who follow these tips have a good chance of keeping their renewable energy (RE) systems safe from lightning damage.

  • Get Grounded – 

When it comes to lightning protection, grounding is perhaps the most general method. Despite the fact that you simply can not stop a thunderstorm surge, you can consider giving it a direct path to the ground that bypasses your expensive machines and securely releases it into the earth’s crust. Static electricity that piles up in an aboveground building will be discharged by an electrical path to the ground on a regular basis. As a result, lightning is less likely to strike in the first place.

  • Array Wiring – 

Wire lengths for array wiring should indeed be kept to a minimum and wedged into the metal framework. Sometimes when necessary, positive and negative wires may have the same length and be powered together. As a result, there will be less high voltage inversion between the conductors. Additional protection is provided by grounded metal conduit. Rather than running long outdoor cables runs overhead, bury them. Wires that are at least 100 feet (30 meters) long act like an antenna, allowing them to pick up surges from lightning in the clouds. When transmission lines are buried, they are less likely to be damaged by lightning than when they aren’t.

  • Lightning Rods – 

Above solar panels and housing developments are static discharge devices called “lightning rods” that are grounded. In order to prevent the accumulation of static charge as well as the ionization of the ambient environment, these devices are designed to be used. A strike can be avoided by using them, and if one does occur, they can provide a path for a very high current to reach the ground. There are a variety of modern devices that are spike-shaped with numerous points.

Final Words:

So much lightning protection work goes unnoticed because it’s underground. Make sure it’s in your agreement with your framework installer, electrician, construction worker, well driller or anyone else who will be doing excavation work that will encompass your grounding system that helps confirm that it’s completed effectively.