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    Solar

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Rapid Shutdowns

Rapid Shutdown

If you got your first solar panel system installed in your house, chances are you will see a box with an on/off switch that says “rapid shutdown.” But do you have any idea what does it mean or why is it important to know when installing a solar panel system at home? 

In today’s article, we will provide you with an overview of rapid shutdown requirements, and everything you need to know about it. 

What is Rapid Shutdown?

Rapid shutdown is an electrical safety regulation that requires every solar panel system to set the solar panel shut-off switch. The National Electrical Code (NEC) introduced it to the public in 2014 with the aim to provide a simple way for firefighters to quickly cut off the current in the DC conductors of the rooftop solar panel systems. It is basically set to make sure that the roof of a building is safe from fire. Usually, when the standard inverter of a solar system is switched off, the DC wiring, from the solar unit, still runs particularly when the sun is up.

Why is Rapid Shutdown Requirement Implemented?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides rapid shutdown requirements and writes them to the NEC to ensure safety measures. Your home may not catch fire so you don’t have to worry about rapid shutdown functionality. However, if it accidentally happens, firefighters can easily use rapid shutdown solutions to de-energize your solar panel system. 

Remember that simply turning off the solar inverter doesn’t shut down the unit. Turning it off may not power off some inverter setups, wires, and circuits, increasing the risk of electric shock. But if you have a rapid shutdown device, then you can easily power off the entire unit, reducing the electrical voltage of your solar panel system in less than a minute. Generally, the rapid shutdown code set the standard to quickly reduce the voltage of any conductors.

Is Rapid Shutdown Required?

Rapid shutdown is a safety measure of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The NEC releases a new or updated set of requirements for safe electrical systems every three consecutive years. Technically speaking, the rapid shutdown is not required everywhere in the United States, although it’s a good idea to install a solar panel system with a rapid shutdown switch. 

Another important thing to note is the NEC is not federally mandated, so individual states can freely choose to follow and abide by the code within their time frame and discretion. Some states choose an independent, state-wide electrical code instead.

Should You Comply with the Rapid Shutdown Regulation?

Generally, solar power systems without rapid shutdown switches are not totally unsafe to first fire responders. If you have a solar power system installed before the implementation of the rapid shutdown, it is less likely to expose your building to more risk. As long as your solar installer is well-experienced with the job, you have nothing to worry about.

However, if you want to be safe and secured, and for your peace of mind, it’s certainly worthwhile to follow the rapid shutdown requirement. Most of the time your installers are highly educated when it comes to changing codes for your state. They also can design your solar power system that can easily comply with all rapid shutdown requirements.

Manufacturers

In the simplest terms, manufacturing is the process of producing actual goods or items/products through the use of raw materials, human labour, use of machinery, tools and other processes such as chemical formulation. This process usually starts with product designing and raw material selection, turning them into an actual product output. 

Solar Products Manufacturers and Factories

In terms of solar, manufacturing encompasses the fabrication or production of materials across the solar market chain. The most common product being manufactured by solar companies are the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which are made with several subcomponents such as solar wafers, cells, glass, back sheets, and frames. Before a solar panel comes into life, it will undergo a lot of processes, from designing, modelling, choosing what raw materials to use and then assembling them all to make the final product.

More Than Just Solar Panels

Aside from the solar panels, solar companies have many other manufactured products that are required to make solar energy systems work smoothly, like solar inverters, batteries, combiner boxes, and racking and tracking structures.

Having a solar manufacturing sector makes a big difference in supplying affordable solar energy in different areas. Aside from maintaining the rising domestic and global demand for cleaner and renewable energy, they also help the economy grow, particularly the solar industry. If you are in search of a reliable solar manufacturing company, checking out our solar outsourcing company, SolarFeeds, would help you get easy access to reliable information, news, data and a list of solar manufacturers that can help you with solar products.

Italy

What is Solar Energy in Italy?

The solar energy in Italy has seen a major surge in this industry among other European countries such as Germany, Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands.

In July 2005, the country started its first “Conto Energia” program to support the development of renewable power, and the result so far has been remarkable. In 2018, Italy added solar PV capacity of 437 MW, and its PV market grew by 7%.

The major driving factor in the Italian PV market has been solar rooftops, and the number of solar installation projects with more than 1 MW capacity increased in in 2017 and 2018.

Italy is considered the country of sunshine which makes the nation very favourable for the installations of solar energy production plants and farms. In Central-Southern Italy, the annual solar radiation can range from 4.7 kWh per square metre per day, and 5.4 kWh per square metre per day in Sicily. While the other regions also have a very high solar energy production potential making Italy one of the leading countries for the production of solar energy, as well as in the sector of research and technological innovation.

The solar energy in Italy has seen a major surge in this industry among other European countries such as Germany, Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands. Italy’s PV market is known as one of the photovoltaic markets that definitely deserve a place in the solar energy spotlight. In fact, during the first ten years of the new millennium, Italy was on the third spot after Germany and Spain to experience a significant boom in solar installations after encouraging the citizen through government incentives. This made most of the manufacturers and citizens embrace and support solar power.

In 2010, The Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station was completed and it is considered the largest photovoltaic power station in Italy with 85 MW solar capacity. Along with this largest PV power station, there are also other large PV plants like Cellino San Marco with 42.7 MW capacity, San Bellino with 70.6 MW capacity, and Sant’ Alberto with solar capacity of 34.6 MW.

Aside from conventional solar PV technology, Italy is also known for its developing concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. To function efficiently, this concentrated solar technology requires higher direct solar irradiation, which makes the country suitable for this technique as Italy has more exposure to sunlight. Furthermore, the southern regions including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily also offer good conditions for CSP technology, the reason why the Italian government provided large investments to promote this solar power development.

Currently, there are three solar plants running in the country. The first one is the Archimede solar plant, which was installed on the island of Sicily in 2010, attaining a solar capacity of 5 MW. Moreover, planning and promotion for the CSP technology will undergo several additional projects which would add another solar capacity of 360 MW, annually.

As of now, Italy for being known as “sunshine-blessed” country is currently the second-largest market in Europe in terms of installed solar power generation capacity. Which then, achieved over 20 GW of photovoltaic (PV) power plants in 2018. This year, the Italian solar power market is expected to enter a new series of growth, particularly investing in “grid parity” projects that mostly rely on corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs).