T&D World Magazine

Arc Fault Circuit Protection for PV systems

ABB demonstrated its new Arc Fault Circuit Protection solution at the Solar Power International conference and exhibition last week, in conjunction with Shoals Technologies.

This solution uses new and advanced insulation monitoring technology to detect a system fault and prevent an arc flash incident before it happens. This type of detection system assures an alert for any potential fault, and can be adjusted for both small combiner and lager PV systems. It also provides visual status indication that can be connected to a PLC for remote monitoring.

"The main purpose of arc fault detection is to detect and prevent a fault that may eventually cause a fire,” said Allen Austin, Global Segment Manager for Solar Power, ABB Low Voltage Products Division. “The ABB system approach is to monitor the system and advise of system malfunction well before an incident occurs. This will not only prevent a fire caused by an arc but it will also prevent equipment damage that can occur after an arc fault is detected.”

Shoals Technologies, a Portland, Tennessee-based producer of combiner boxes and other advanced PV products, has fully integrated this system in its new state-of-the-art combiner box design. It also incorporates circuit protection technology using a molded case circuit breaker instead of a usual disconnect. Not only does this system provide arc fault protection, it also provides short circuit protection, ensuring the ultimate in people and equipment protection.

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