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  • the " big solar flare" and PV

    We were talking at work today about the predictions of 2012. What effect would a LARGE solar flare have on a battery based/grid tied system? If it the flare was big enough to knock the entire grid out for years as they predict, would an inverter disconnect fast enough to protect itself? I would think a system like the XW, Sunny Island or Outback, would disconnect from the grid before any major internal damage would be done to the inverter. Anyone with any knowedge on this, please share.

    Thanks for your input.
    Ken

    >>> Would PV panels be effected at all?
    GT / Backup
    XW4024, Magnum E-panel, SCP , 6-enersys 12V155F (24 volt @ +/-400 Ahr), 7500W gas genset tied to generator input(backup for the backup)

  • #2

    Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

    Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

    We have had some discussions here:

    Making a PV system survivable in EMP/CME conditions?

    Short answer, for Solar Flares, off grid power systems are just too small to "receive" the energy from the sun and be damaged.

    Harden your system against lightning damage the best you can and have some spares available--Much more likely than an CME or EMP for the average user.

    -Bill
    20x BP 4175B panels (replacement) + Xantrex GT 3.3 inverter for 3kW Grid Tied system + Honda eu2000i Inverter/Generator for emergency backup.

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    • #3

      Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

      Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

      Especially hard to damage an XW system with GFCI.
      http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
      "we go where the power lines don't"

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

        Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

        Originally posted by BB. View Post
        We have had some discussions here:

        Making a PV system survivable in EMP/CME conditions?

        Short answer, for Solar Flares, off grid power systems are just too small to "receive" the energy from the sun and be damaged.

        Harden your system against lightning damage the best you can and have some spares available--Much more likely than an CME or EMP for the average user.

        -Bill
        HUH???

        What would the GFCI do? My understanding an EMP pulse would be picked up by any wires attached like even the Ground wire?
        16 Trojan L16RE-B @ 48v XW6048 Inverter with ComBox. 3250 watts of Suntech panels wired 5 in series running 300 feet to a Classic 200. 3000 watts of solar world modules wired 2 in series running 120 feet to a Classic 150. Bergey XL1 on a 90ft tower running to an AC Clipper and then to a Classic 250. Lister Clone spinning a 120v gen rectified and fed to a Classic 200. Electric hot water heater and induction cook-top (Replaced the propane unit. Good riddance)

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        • #5

          Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

          Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

          Methinks Dave is making funny
          1900 watts PV, (1000 watts PV feeding MidNite Classic 150; 900 watts PV + 160 watts micro hydro both feeding into a single shared Morningstar TS-MPPT-60) ; Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12 for heavy loads; Xantrex Pure Sine 1000/12 on 24/7 for everything else; six Rolls Surrette 2 volt L16 @ 12 volts.
          Domestic hot water totally provided by the sun 8 months out of every year via thermal panel.

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          • #6

            Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

            Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

            I am not sure where GFCI came into the discussion?

            Anyway, using a Inverter/Transfer Switch to disconnect from the Grid during a CME is probably not going to work well... The problem is that a CME inducing current into the grid will create many thousands of volts, more than enough to jump the gap of a transfer switch. Again, in my humble opinion.

            If you knew a bad CME was heading for earth with sufficient time--Disconnect all wires/cables from the home with feet of separation would probably be needed (power, cable TV, phone line, etc.) to keep your home and electronics safe from the induced voltage in the long copper lines.

            -Bill
            20x BP 4175B panels (replacement) + Xantrex GT 3.3 inverter for 3kW Grid Tied system + Honda eu2000i Inverter/Generator for emergency backup.

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            • #7

              Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

              Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

              OK. There is the reply I was looking for. Grid connected people of the world. You're screwed unless you manually disconnect. Transfer switch or not, your system will fry. Or did I misunderstand?
              GT / Backup
              XW4024, Magnum E-panel, SCP , 6-enersys 12V155F (24 volt @ +/-400 Ahr), 7500W gas genset tied to generator input(backup for the backup)

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                Originally posted by waynefromnscanada View Post
                Methinks Dave is making funny
                It is both a funny and an urge for anyone who might be building an inverter to design it as Xantrex did. No matter if the signal to shut down an inverter comes from a GFCI or an Arc fault it is always better if the system shuts down and protects the loads. Depending on how close or how powerful the lightning strike or EMP is might make the difference. Direct experience here!

                This is the only reason I have disagreed with you folks here about GFCI. We went thru this on the Xantrex forum when their first MPPTCC came out. At the time I had a client who was upset that the system shut down during a close strike. There was talk of allowing the user to decide (Telecommunications). Now after years of direct experience with a blown 1 amp fuse and a functional system after lightning I know it is a good thing! Sometimes there is not anyone home to shut down and I "know" this has helped.

                Definately not saying that this will save you from EMP or Lightning. Definately saying that it is always a good thing to shut down a system during lightning. Even all wiring disconnected by over 8 feet will not help when your number is up. For people offgrid and remote, circuit protection that does something useful is a value even if it bonds earth to DC negative thru a 1 amp fuse and monitors via xanbus.

                As for the funny part, I would say that Xantrex was told to advertise this and it never happened....
                http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
                "we go where the power lines don't"

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                • #9

                  Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                  Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                  Here is another engineering based article about shielding against CME/EMP events.

                  -Bill
                  20x BP 4175B panels (replacement) + Xantrex GT 3.3 inverter for 3kW Grid Tied system + Honda eu2000i Inverter/Generator for emergency backup.

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                    Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                    Originally posted by BB. View Post
                    Good information, the best offense is a good defense. (A very good ground system)
                    I worked at a place once a long time ago that was completely EMP proof. Double Faraday cage with it's on internal power feed from a motor/generator and backup UPS set separated by a insulated power shaft to the generator inside the room. It was a doomsday TACAMO communications vault. It was also a good place to get some sleep while on watch.
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TACAMO
                    Unistrut pole mount: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7058/6...df338c_b_d.jpg

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                    • #11

                      Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                      Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                      The primary issue with a CME is it induces a D.C. bias on the long distance power distribution lines which is bad for the distribution transformers. It can drive them into a magnetic offset saturation state where they cannot handle the existing A.C. loads and will eventually damage the distribution transformer. Knock out a large quantity of large substation transformers and there will not be enough standby replacements available. It can take upwards of six months to have new ones built from factory.

                      The D.C. magnetic bias on the distribution transformer core is semi-permanent so the core is like a permanent magnet. The amount of DC core flux bias eats up the magnetic core flux swing available to A.C. reducing its power handling capability. When the core saturates, the current through the transformer spikes up damaging the transformer and puts large surges on the distribution network. It is a tricky un-routine process to degauss the transformer assuming the transformer's problem is recognized and shut down before the transformer self destructs.

                      As to a grid tie inverter, hybrid or otherwise, it would have little effect on it. The local 240/120 v split phase transformer will eliminate any D.C. offset on the residential side secondary but there may be extra AC distortion left over from corruption of up stream waveform. If it bothers the inverter at all they will disconnect from grid. It would be like a generator with a distorted sinewave output that is so bad the hybrid grid tie inverter will not lock to it.
                      Last edited by RCinFLA; December 25th, 2011, 19:37.

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                      • #12

                        Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                        Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                        Transformer saturation from CME events is another reason utilities are going HVDC for long transmission interties but even with DC lines you have the problem of commutation failures from excess current.

                        The Pacific HVDC Intertie: We power LA.
                        http://www.abb.com/industries/ap/db0...b002a16b6.aspx
                        Last edited by nsaspook; December 25th, 2011, 19:48.
                        Unistrut pole mount: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7058/6...df338c_b_d.jpg

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                        • #13

                          Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                          Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                          http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html
                          Geomagnetic K-index of 4 expected
                          It's a low level event but solar activity is increasing.
                          Unistrut pole mount: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7058/6...df338c_b_d.jpg

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                          • #14

                            Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                            Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                            Its only a brief spike from a CME that occured a few days ago. Spikes of 3-4 happen all the time. http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/kp_3d.html
                            12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is, 4.2 kw APC UPS powered either by battery or a Prius. Really.

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                            • #15

                              Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                              Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

                              Originally posted by topper View Post
                              OK. There is the reply I was looking for. Grid connected people of the world. You're screwed unless you manually disconnect. Transfer switch or not, your system will fry. Or did I misunderstand?
                              Kind of depends on where you live. From the research I've done the vulnerable locations (in the USA) are the northern states and along the coastlines. Central/southern states shouldn't see much if any effect. Plenty of power company stations up the line will disconnect the impulse before it reaches those of us in the south.

                              I'm not worried, but If I lived in the north or along the coast, then I'd probably get a backup inverter and some batteries just in case.
                              sigpic
                              15 CS6P-230P on 2 URTF-120s and one home made tracker With Enphase inverters

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