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Thread: the " big solar flare" and PV

  1. #1
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    Default 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?

  2. #2
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    Default 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.

  3. #3
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    Default 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"

  4. #4

    Default Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

    Quote 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?

  5. #5
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    Default 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.

  6. #6
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    Default 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.

  7. #7
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    Default 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?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

    Quote 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"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

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

  10. #10

    Default Re: the " big solar flare" and PV

    Quote 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

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