Photovoltaic Surge Protection
In the ever growing field of clean and efficient power generation, the need to continually innovate in order to bring down costs is critical. The ongoing power struggle between industrial concepts involving fossil fuels vs clean energy techniques will continue until a clear winner emerges that can produce lower cost power that also has the lowest impact on the environment. Until then, the debate over environmental impact is not enough to convince many people that the added cost is justified. Ultimately, it is this inability to see beyond the short-term savings of a small amount of money that hinders the entire green energy industry, as public support rarely goes to the concepts that offer better long-term solutions at a higher current price. People throw their support behind the methods that cost the least today, even though they fully understand that these choices are not the best over time. Once a method becomes better and cheaper, the public supports it fully. Unfortunately, at the current time, solar power is still evolving to that point. This means that at the current time, solar power costs more to produce than fossil fuel power. Even through there may be manipulation from governments and groups interested in pushing a fossil fuel agenda, ultimately the technological progression within the solar industry will prove to be a cheaper product. Where innovation might not be being supported and funded by these large groups and government agencies, the private sector is still moving the entire industry forward towards that goal.
One way that innovation is proving that it can drive down energy production costs in the solar market is through the implementation of ways to lengthen the time the equipment in the field lasts. One such innovation in the implementation of surge protection devices into photovoltaic systems. Just like any mechanized or computerized system that is exposed to the elements, the solar industry on both an industrial and consumer level has this issue. The exposed panels that are necessary to collect sunlight also provide an ideal place for lightning to strike. This is due to the isolated nature of their placement in order that they be unobstructed by other structures. Lightning is prone to striking the panels, which causes damage at the strike point. This strike also produces a power surge which travels along connection cables from the panels to the downstream equipment used in the process. That equipment is overwhelmed by the power levels exceeding the safe range, and must then be repaired or replaced as well. This creates far more damage than is necessary, and ultimately drives up the total production costs of a unit of power created using these types of systems. Through the integration of photovoltaic surge protection devices in the inverters and at junction boxes within these systems, a protective stop is created between the vulnerable panels and the sensitive equipment downstream. The protection of this equipment over time allows for power generation having lower costs, in the end bringing the cost of solar power down below that of fossil fuels. The future is green energy, and technological innovations in the private sector are making it possible.