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An investigation into arc detection and fire safety aspects of photovoltaic installations

England, Ben (2012) An investigation into arc detection and fire safety aspects of photovoltaic installations. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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The number of PV systems around the world is increasing and the systems are aging with little to no inspections and maintenance. Exposed to UV, the weather and rodents cables, connection points and other components can degrade to the point where there is a break in the circuit and over this gap the current from the PV array can continue to flow causing an arc. The heat and electrical energy from the arc can ignite nearby materials and start a fire which could cause further damage. When an arc starts there is no off switch to easily cut the power from the PV array so the arcing situation can continue. A number of systems have been developed to detect these arcs in order to identify and eliminate them early before they start a fire. One of these devices was tested to determine if it was effective in detecting arcs. The Texas Instruments SolarMagic RD-195 DC Arc Detection Evaluation Board detected all the arcs created and did not give any false positives. The devices available on the market today are effective at detecting arcs and some have been integrated into the inverters of PV systems along with devices to extinguish any arcs. The integration of these and other features into PV systems makes PV systems safer and reduces the potential for damage to people the system and surrounds.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Calais, Martina and Hettiwatte, Sujeewa
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