Differentiating Series and Parallel Photovoltaic Arc-Faults 2016-12-02T18:47:09+00:00

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Filename 38thPVSC_SeriesvParallelFaults_SAND2012-4443C1.pdf
filesize 1.33 MB
Version 1
Date added February 13, 2013
Downloaded 141 times
Category Combustion, Energy Security, Manual, Photovoltaic, Reliability, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy
Tags sand2012-4443c
location Tigo Energy, Los Gatos, CA, 95032
author Jay Johnson, Michael Montoya, Scott McCalmont, Gil Katzir, Felipe Fuks, Justis Earle, Armando Fresquez, Sigifredo Gonzalez, and Jennifer Granata
report-id SAND2012-4443C

The 2011 National Electrical Code® requires PV DC series arc-fault protection but does not require parallel arc-fault protection. As a result, manufacturers are creating arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) which only safely de-energize the arcing circuit when a series arc-fault occurs. Since AFCI devices often use the broadband AC noise on the DC side of the PV system for detection and series and parallel arc-faults create similar frequency content, it is likely an AFCI device will open in the event of either arc-fault type. In the case of parallel arc-faults, opening the AFCI will not extinguish the arc and may make the arc worse, potentially creating a fire. Due to the fire risk from parallel arc-faults, Tigo Energy and Sandia National Laboratories studied series and parallel arc-faults and confirmed the noise signatures from the two arc-faults types are nearly identical. As a result, three alternative methods for differentiating parallel and series arc-faults are presented along with suggestions for arc-fault mitigation of each arc-fault type.
Index Terms — photovoltaic systems, arc-fault detection, series and parallel arc-faults, sensors, monitoring, power system safety.