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Arc fault detectors prevent thermal events in PV arrays

Posted: 16 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Sensata Technologies? arc fault detectors? PV inverter?

Sensata Technologies has released its new family of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recognised arc fault detectors for preventing dangerous thermal events on solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays.

The Sensata PVAF family of arc fault detectors allows PV inverter and combiner box manufacturers to develop National Electric Code (NEC) 2011 compliant equipment by taking advantage of the company's extensive development experience in aerospace arc fault detection. The PVAF family is a series of UL 1699B recognised, pre-integrated arc detection solutions for use in inverters or combiner boxes on new arrays, or retrofit boxes on existing arrays.

"Though NEC 2011 included an arc fault requirement, the lack of UL recognised equipment made compliance with the code extremely challenging, so it was not enforced in many areas," said John Kluza, Solar Strategic Marketing Manager for Sensata. "The release of the PVAF series will enable broader availability of NEC 2011 compliant PV equipment and safer PV arrays which comply with NEC 2011."

The proprietary, cost-effective solution detects arcs while minimising nuisance trips by identifying the electrical noise signature created by arc faults in the array wiring. Each PVAF device monitors up to 4 PV strings by itself, and multiple PVAFs can run in parallel to monitor more strings or a whole combiner box.

The PVAF series is available in configurations powered with 12V DC or 24V DC, and for monitoring strings up to 15amps at 1000V or combined lines up to 40A at 1000V. Custom versions for specific applications are also available.

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