How Does Lightning Arrestors Protect Off Grid Solar Systems?

One nearby lightning strike could see your off grid solar power system investment go up in smoke. If you’re close to town that could mean a costly repair, but if you live remotely it could also mean days or weeks without power.

Both direct and indirect lightning strikes can result in a damaged system. Direct strikes are rare but will destroy panels and other up stream components like solar inverters.

Indirect strikes are far more likely and will push high voltages into the off grid power system breaking down conductors, PV panels and components as well as producing dangerous sparking that could ignite combustible material.

Lightning arrestors, also known as surge protectors, limit the amount of power which can reach your off grid system by clamping down on high voltage spikes. If the voltage exceeds the arrestor unit’s ability to control the spike, as in a major lightning strike, it simply breaks the circuit similar to a fuse in a house breaker box.

There are a range of lightning arrestors on the market, and all have their pros and cons. Some things to consider are where the lightning arrestor is going to be mounted, how much voltage your system needs to be limited to, and the availability of replacement units in your area.

Stand Alone’s Off Grid Power System Designers recommend the American made MidNite lightning arrestors for their reliability, ability to be mounted outside of controller boxes so it can be monitored, and excellent value for money.

The MidNite Solar lightning arrestors are offered in three different voltages to maximise the required protection level. They are designed to clamp a 115,000 amp surge and have the great feature of inbuilt blue LED indicator lights to provide visual alerts of operational status from a distance.

MidNite arrestors also work with both AC and DC systems and come with a 5 year manufacture’s warranty.

When you consider that an off grid solar system costs upwards of $20,000, and you are making the investment in off grid equipment expecting a return over 10-15 years; installing lightning arrestors as part of your system is essential to protect your investment.

Stand Alone Power Systems incorporates lightning arrestors as part of all their off grid solar power designs. We see it as a critical part of ensuring your system runs reliably for its entire expected lifespan.

If you want to talk with someone experienced with all units on the market and what unit is best for your needs, then contact our Off Grid Solar System Designer, Mark, via the contact page.

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