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Solar power is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment. But what happens if there’s a lightning storm and your solar panels are struck by lightning? Can lightning damage solar panels? In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions about Solar PV panels and lightning!

Lightning is the most frequent reason for malfunctions of the photovoltaic (PV) and wind-electrical systems. An incredibly damaging surge could result due to lightning strikes that travel an extended distance away from the system or between clouds. 

Do solar panels attract lightning? 

While it is true that solar PV panels are made of conductive materials, they are actually designed to dissipate any electrical charge that they come into contact with. As a result, solar PV panels are not likely to attract lightning or cause any damage if they are struck by lightning. Homeowners with Solar PV panels can rest assured that their investment is safe from the risk of lightning strikes.

Can lightning damage solar panels?

Can lightning damage solar panels? While a direct strike from lightning is unlikely, a nearby strike can generate a powerful electromagnetic field that can damage the electrical components of PV panels. In addition, the high heat from a lightning strike can cause the glass on PV panels to shatter. As a result, it is important for PV panel owners to take steps to protect their investment from lightning strikes to ensure that their PV panels will continue to produce clean, renewable energy for years to come.

Solar PV Panels and Lightning: How to Avoid Damage

Solar PV panels are a popular choice for those looking to reduce their reliance on traditional forms of energy. However, Solar PV panels are also susceptible to lightning damage. 

In order to protect your investment, it is important to understand the details of Solar PV panels and lightning and take steps to minimize the risk of lightning striking your Solar PV panels. 

#1. Ensure proper grounding.

Grounding is among the most basic methods to redirect the lightning path from the source directly to the ground. For areas with frequent lightning strikes, the grounding technique can be sufficient to shield your PV systems from surges and lightning without installing any additional security equipment.

A good grounding system is essential when we employ surge protectors or lightning arrestors. They will function efficiently only when we have the proper grounding.

To ensure proper grounding, one has to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Assess the resistance of the ground and the electricity flow handling capacity.
  • Connect all PV panels, the inverter, the controller, and all other components with the ground, along with the house grounding system to the common earthing point. There should be an earth pit on the DC side (solar panels, DC Distribution box) and for the lightning arrestor and AC side (inverter, DC Distribution Box).  
  • To ensure a safe and efficient grounding, copper, aluminum wire, or GI strip is highly advised. The wire or strip used should be free of sharp bends or twists and should be buried in a way that the majority of the area is in contact with moist soil.  

#2. Install Surge Arrestors or Surge Protectors

Surge Arrestors, also known as Surge Protectors, are similar to “clamps” in most situations. They connect the live wires to another wire in the ground. They usually stand in the wires, but if they can generate a voltage beyond a certain threshold, they begin to conduct causing a short circuit of the greater voltage to the ground. 

In areas prone to lighting, you must also set up a surge protector. It’s not an arrestor, but it’s super fast and can detect spikes in voltage along the AC line which are too high for an arrestor to stop. When installed correctly, surge arrestors can help to prevent costly repairs and ensure that your Solar PV system continues to operate smoothly.

#3. Install Lightning Protection Devices (LPDs). 

These devices work by providing a path for the electricity from a lightning strike to the ground, thus preventing damage to the Solar PV panels. LPDs are typically installed at the point where the Solar PV panel array meets the roof. 

#4. Have your Solar PV panels professionally inspected on a regular basis. 

This will allow any potential problems to be detected and corrected before they cause serious damage. 

Can lightning damage solar panels? Yes! But by taking these precautions, you will understand how Solar PV panels and lightning can coexist without causing damage on your part. You can help to ensure that your Solar PV panels will continue to provide clean, renewable energy for years to come.

What happens if lightning hits a solar panel?

Lightning strikes are classified as indirect or direct strikes. Direct Strikes are extremely rare. They can cause the melting of panels and damage to the inverter, fuse, and cable. It can lead to high currents entering the system, resulting in overheating and damage to the system. 

Can lightning damage solar panels? It does in many ways. An indirect strike is more frequent and causes electromagnetic induction, which generates a high voltage in the solar system and into the house. The generated high voltage flows through the system wiring to the component, damaging the solar panels, conductor, inverter, and other connected components.

What do you do if your panels are damaged by lightning?

Solar PV panels are a great way to generate renewable energy, but they can be damaged by lightning strikes. Solar PV panels and lightning are not too complicated to understand. Here are the steps you need to do when lightning hit your solar panels.

#1. Contact EcoPlex. If your panels are struck by lightning, it is important to have them checked by a qualified technician. Lightning can damage the electrical components of the panels, and it can also cause the glass to crack. 

#2. Disconnect your PV panels from the electrical grid. This will prevent any electrical surges from damaging your home’s wiring. Inspect your panels for damage. Once the power is turned off, you can safely inspect your panels for damage. Look for cracks in the glass, burns, or other signs of damage.

  • Prepare your backup energy source. If your Solar PV panels are damaged, you will need to have a backup energy source in place. This could be a backup generator, a battery system, or even just some extra fuel for your home.

#3. Coordinate with your home insurance provider. In some cases, the damage may be covered by your insurance policy, but it is always best to check with your insurer before making any claims. If the damage is not covered by insurance, you may still be able to get financial assistance from your state or local government. Solar PV panels are a great investment, but you should be prepared for the possibility of damage from severe weather.

Contact EcoPlex for Solar PV damage caused by lightning

Solar PV panels are a great way to generate renewable energy, but they can be damaged by lightning strikes. If your Solar PV panels have been struck by lightning, EcoPlex is here to help you. 

We specialize in repairing Solar PV damage caused by lightning strikes. We will come to your home or business and inspect the Solar PV panels for damage. If we find damage, we will repair it. We have a team of experienced Solar PV technicians certified to repair Solar PV panels. We also offer a warranty on all of our work. 

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, especially about Solar PV panels and lightning.

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