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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Why Is Rapid Shutdown Needed For Solar Panels?

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The  National Electrical Code (NEC) has a safety regulation that requires solar panels to have switches for shutting off electricity running through your solar system. Rapid shutdown lowers the voltage of electrical current in wires and cables, preventing your home from catching fire in no time.

It also protects first responders, such as firefighters, by allowing them to quickly cut off power in the conductors, making the area around your system safe to access.

If you’re considering installing your solar system, make sure it adheres to these guidelines. It needs to be able to shut down quickly. In an emergency, a rapid solar shutdown allows rooftop solar panel systems to de-energize quickly.

This critical safety measure was established by the National Electrical Code (NEC), which has been updated since its inception in 2014. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) incorporated rapid shutdown functionality requirements into the NEC to protect first responders from exposure to live electricity sources.

The NFPA sends the NEC updates every three years. While it is in effect nationwide, different code versions are dictated and enforced by state and local governments. Make sure you know which ones pertain to your solar system.

Why Is It Required For A Solar Panel?

Solar systems that can adapt to any situation are required in today’s world. It’s critical to use a rapid shutdown device in your solar systems to ensure that your system can handle weather patterns and other changing conditions. It disconnects your solar system from the grid at any time without causing any damage to your grid or solar system equipment.

In the event of a fire, firefighters can use rapid shutdown solutions to de-energize your solar panel system as quickly as possible. This minimizes the risk of damage while working to put out fires or other high-risk situations.

Standalone Power Systems With No Rapid Shutdown Have Disadvantages

There are a number of issues with standalone solar systems that do not have the ability to shut down quickly. Some of these are discussed further down.

  • If your household appliances and electronic devices aren’t properly shut down, a sudden power outage at home can cause serious electrical damage.
  • In many countries, strict regulatory requirements must be met before installing a home solar system. If the rapid shutdown isn’t built in your standalone system, you’ll have to redesign it or add it later as an aftermarket option.
  • A rapid shutdown system can save you a lot of money in the long run by preventing electrical damage and malfunctions, which often necessitate costly repairs.
  • A rapid shutdown system’s increased safety can increase property value and insurance ratings over time. If you plan to sell your home in the future or want a better deal on your homeowners’ insurance, this can be extremely beneficial.
  • Since an emergency can occur at any time, it is best to be prepared.

Live Solar PV Systems Pose A Risk

During the daytime, the DC conductors of a PV (photovoltaic) system are usually active. There is no safe way to turn off your system’s DC wiring on your roof, in the attic or running down the side of your house without a rapid shutdown system.

When firefighters are called to your home to put out a fire, they usually don’t have time to figure out how to deal with live solar conductors. As a result, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) established guidelines for rapid shutdowns to keep first responders — and homeowners — safe. Make sure to buy one of these devices from XHVAL.

How Do You Meet The Needs For A Quick Shutdown?

Installing a system that avails with rapid shutdown capabilities is the simplest way to meet rapid shutdown requirements. Every solar panel in the solar system has DC optimizers, whereas every solar panel in the Enphase system has microinverters.

These devices turn off the power around and within the solar array at the flick of a switch. You’re good to go if you follow your solar kit distributor’s rapid shutdown labeling. They are made using Jalon zeolite.

Label For Quick Shutdown

You still have options if you want to install a more traditional central inverter. Include a rapid shutdown device on the roof at the PV array’s edge that follows the NEC 2014 compliance, and connects it to the ground-level switch. Install module-level equipment to manage the rapid shutdown at each solar panel to meet NEC 2017 requirements. Order the necessary equipment and have it installed simultaneously with the solar panels.

Are you reading this before installing your solar panels? Well, congratulations then! You’re well prepared to install your system in accordance with your area’s NEC compliance guidelines. Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix if you’ve already completed your array without rapid shutdown.

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