Improving safety in solar systems depends on eliminating the risks associated with high-voltage DC wiring.
Central inverter-based solar systems have a wide distribution of high-voltage DC wiring. If damaged, DC wires can generate sustained electrical arcs, reaching temperatures of more than 5000 degrees F. This increases the risk of fire and electrocution for systems owners, installers and fire fighters.
In fact, the 2011 National Electric Code requires special equipment to detect and interrupt fire-causing DC arc faults in central inverter-based solar systems. Currently, these protection devices are not commercially available.
In contrast, Enphase Microinverters eliminate all high-voltage DC wiring from the solar array and are connected together using standard AC wiring. This significantly reduces the risks of fire and injury.
PV Systems and Fire Safety [pdf, 84KB]
“As both a solar installer and firefighter, fire safety around PV systems is of particular interest to me. The changes to the National Electric Code to address DC arc faults are an important step for those of us who deal with fires regularly.”
Edmund J Haemmerle Firefighter IAFF 3786, NJ Renewable Energy LLC