Raycap News

Solar Surge Protection And PV Systems

The solar power production industry represents not only billions of dollars in technological investment, but also a future world of cleaner environments and cheaper power.  The debate surrounding the solar industry in its goal to be recognized by global governments as a viable alternative to fossil fuel energy production is connected completely to money, and the protection of an antiquated fossil fuel industry and methodology that not only employs people but also generates profits in the billions of dollars every year.  The fossil fuel industry is well established, and as such has large amounts of money to spend on lobbying and misinformation campaigns designed to sway public opinion.  The alternative forms of power production represent a significant threat to their bottom line, and therefore alternative energies are being fought at every step.  If alternative forms of energy production such as  wind and solar were more readily recognized as superior to fossil fuels, there is a possibility that larger amounts of government research and funding would be granted to them, potentially solving two key issues that keep green energy production smaller than fossil fuels.  These two issues are cost of manufacturing and the ability to manufacture enough to support communities single handed, without the need for backup forms of production to satisfy demand.  What this means is that all arguments against the full embrace of wind and solar by governments globally boils down to community support, and people are lead to believe that these methods of production are more expensive and cannot produce enough to keep the lights on 24 hours a day.  Embracing these alternative forms of production could create funding streams that solve these issues, for instance finding vialble electrical storage systems for alternative energy sources, and creating an effective end to the strangle hold that fossil fuel power production has on the world.  These are the reasons that there is such an effort to stifle progress and technological development that could advance the industry, expanding production capacities and lowering costs. But eventually the tide will turn, it has to.

When analyzing the situation to further understand the issues, we must first delve into what solar power production involves, and why there are threats that can increase costs and lower production.  Solar farms used photovoltaic (PV) systems in order to produce power.  The process explained in a simplified way is that sunlight collected on panels is used to heat up liquid that is housed within sealed tube systems that are attached.  This liquid expands in order to create a turning of attached turbines, which generate electricity for transport and storage.  The potentials for damage to these systems that would need repair and replacement is the basis for some of the cost inflation.  The damage threat is a result of the physical make up and placement of the systems themselves, essentially needing to cover large land expanses and not have sunlight be blocked by other structures.  This crates an extreme risk of damage from inclement weather, not the least of which are lightning strikes to the panels as they are the highest structure within the general vicinity, and lightning is naturally attracted to the tallest structure.  Combining the expected damage from lightning strikes with the ongoing wear and tear from sun, wind and water, and a cost basis for production is arrived at.  Since the sunlight that powers the PV systems is free, the majority of the costs of production is in maintenance and repair to the systems themselves.  Through the reduction of repair or replacement expenses on a regular basis, a lower cost of production can be achieved.  While it is nearly impossible to completely stop the damage at the strike points or the damage from weather, the costs that can be effectively reduced are found in the damage that results from the subsequent power surge.

After a lighting strike, a large surge of electricity flows through nearly anything attached to the strike point.  Because the solar panels that are expected to bear the brunt of the strike itself are connected directly to the system through control cables, data transfer cables and power lines, a lightning strike produces a surge that reverberates through the entire system.  The overload of electrical flow moves easily along these cables, overloading and damaging all of the computerized equipment connected in the chain.    The most effective method of reducing these costs is through the integration of solar surge protective devices (SPD) at critical junctions, along lines and in a redundant setup.  Through the stopping of the flow of electricity in the event of a power surge, these systems can be better protected from damage and ultimately result in lowered operating costs.  If the SPD configuration is adequate, there is a potential for nearly all downstream damage from the strike point to be eliminated.

Raycap Strikesorb technology is a premium grade commercial SPD system utilizing housings that are far more advanced and robust than standard light industrial surge protection devices.  Strikesorb can withstand far greater levels of short circuit surge activity without being destroyed completely.  Strikesorb modules do not need to be replaced or reset after a surge incident, and continue to function even in the instance of multiple strikes to the same system.  Utilizing other SPDs leaves a system vulnerable to another strike in between the time of the last strike and the replacement of the SPD, essentially leaving the equipment vulnerable and no longer being effective.  The large amounts of investment that are at risk in a typical photovoltaic system for industrial production cannot take these types of hits.  With Strikesorb devices installed at inverters and junction boxes, a higher level of surge protection is achieved, lowering the costs created by surge damage or degradation.

The “always on” nature of Raycap Strikesorb technology also addresses the other major issue with regards to the widespread acceptance of solar production.  Because systems can only produce power when the sun is shining, the systems must strive to achieve as close to a 100% uptime as possible.  By producing power for as long as is possible while the sun is out, larger capacities can be achieved thus pushing the medium further toward being able to function as a standalone, and without the need for fossil fuel backup methods.  If enough power can be produced through this method to power all the needs of the nearby communities, then the necessity of fossil fuel production to make up the difference becomes less necessary.  Uptimes are increased through the use of Strikesorb technology due to the fact that the restoration to functionality process is reduced.  Basically, since the Strikesorb unit itself needs no resetting, it takes less time to restore the entire PV system to functionality after a surge incident.  Through extension of the uptimes by a system that relies on a free fuel source, more power is made for the same price.

The development of better technologies through funding and research can eventually push the prices of alternative energy production down below that of fossil fuels, as well as increase capacities so that the systems create all the power necessary.  While misinformation campaigns and lobbying on the part of the fossil fuel industry exist, this battle will be uphill.  In the meantime, the private sector and companies like Raycap continue to produce more evolved technologies on their own, closing the gap between widespread rollout of green energy production as the primary sources of power to communities worldwide, and the current reliance upon fossil fuels.  The future is clean and cheap energy, and Raycap is finding ways to help make this a reality.