Improving Electrical Safety

Preventing Two Electrical Safety Issues When Installing Solar Panels

If you want to help your company save money on its monthly electric bill, installing solar panels to harness free power from the sun is a good option. Although solar panels are overwhelmingly safe to use, problems can occur if the panels are not connected correctly to the building's electrical system or other issues are not properly accounted for. Here are two potential problems that could arise and what can be done to prevent them.

Damage from Electrical Surges

A common problem some people run into with solar panels is that the components suffer damage from power surges. A power surge occurs when an excessive amount of electricity rolls through the wires that the appliance is unprepared to deal with. Lightning strikes and fluctuations in the power output from the grid can produce power surges. However, the most common cause come from internal surges produced by other appliances in the building turning on and off or malfunctioning.

A steady diet of power surges can significantly shorten the lifespan of your solar panels over time, requiring you to replace them sooner than expected. The surges can also damage the wiring in your building, which may increase the risk of fires and other safety concerns.

A good way to prevent this issue is to install a whole-building surge protector. All electricity is routed through this device, which then regulates the output to the outlets to prevent suddenly increases from damaging components. Although you can install a point-of-use protector onto your solar panels, a whole-building device will protect all of the electronics in your company, which can save you a lot of money over time.

The Cause of Fires

A second issue that can arise are fires caused by solar panels. Typically, it's not the panels themselves that are the source, but the converter box where all the wires connect the panels to the building's electrical system. If the converter is not wired properly, the current may cause overheating or arcs that spark a fire.

The best way to avoid this issue is to ensure you hire an electrical contractor who is familiar with wiring for solar panels. Additionally, it's a good idea to have your solar panels and the converter box inspected on a regular basis. Generally, there will be indications that there's a problem with the wiring before a fire breaks out, and regular inspections can help you catch issues early and fix them before your business literally goes up in smoke.

For more information about preventing electrical issues with your solar panels or help installing a system, contact a local electrical contractor, like one from Dunedin Electric Co., Inc.