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Design guidelines for lightning protection of PV systems

Constable, Michael (2013) Design guidelines for lightning protection of PV systems. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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Lightning is a powerful and potentially destructive force of nature; failure to include appropriate measures in the design and construction of buildings can have severe consequences. The electrical and physical forces released during a lightning strike can result in serious damage to structures, electrical infrastructure and the sensitive electronic components used in computers, media devices and electronic systems that have become crucial to the modern existence.

Developments in electronics technology have resulted in the increased proliferation of PV systems and devices that incorporate sensitive electronic components. The average modern home will include a PV system, microwave, inverter controlled air conditioner, multiple computers and permanently connected media devices; all contain electronic components that will fail when exposed to the electrical surges associated with lighting strikes.

PV arrays are generally installed on the roof or immediately adjacent to a structure and generally do not change the likelihood that lighting will strike a building. However the modules and their associated framework provide sharp conductive points that are close to the peaks or edges of a roof line. Therefore in the event that lightning strikes a building they are more likely to form part of the conductive path and provide a direct connection into the structures and electrical systems of the buildings they are mounted on.

This thesis documents the nature of lightning and the associated risk, a detailed gap analysis of International & Australian lightning protection standards and the development of lightning protection assessment tools. Additionally it documents the use of the developed tools to conduct a lighting protection assessment of the recently constructed Murdoch Engineering building, which includes 4 roof mounted PV systems that alter the building profile.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Calais, Martina
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