How Can We Make PV Modules Safer?: Preprint

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Safety is a prime concern for the photovoltaics (PV) industry. As a technology deployed on residential and commercial buildings, it is critical that PV not cause damage to the buildings nor harm the occupants. Many of the PV systems on buildings are of sufficiently high voltage (300 to 600 Volts dc) that they may present potential hazards. These PV systems must be safe in terms of mechanicaldamage (nothing falls on someone), shock hazard (no risk of electrical shock when touching an exposed circuit element), and fire (the modules neither cause nor promote a fire). The present safety standards (IEC 61730 and UL 1703) do a good job of providing for design rules and test requirements for mechanical, shock, and spread of flame dangers. However, neither standard addresses the issue ofelectrical arcing within a module that can cause a fire. To make PV modules, they must be designed, built, and installed with an emphasis on minimizing the potential for open circuits and ground faults. This paper provides recommendations on redundant connection designs, robust mounting methods, and changes to the safety standards to yield safer PV modules.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages6
    StatePublished - 2012
    Event2012 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference - Austin, Texas
    Duration: 3 Jun 20128 Jun 2012


    Conference2012 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
    CityAustin, Texas

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/CP-5200-54145


    • fire hazards
    • photovoltaic modules
    • shock hazards


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