Building-Mounted Photovoltaics by Pira International Ltd
By Pira International Ltd
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Extra resources for Building-Mounted Photovoltaics
8 m (6 ft) clearance. 4 will soon be a nationwide requirement. In Europe, there is also increased awareness of these issues. Anyone contemplating building a BMPV system on any rooftop should consult local fire authorities early in the design process. Utility/interconnection Issues When planning a new building project with BMPV, the local electric utility should be consulted early in the conceptual design process. A contract between the utility and the generating entity is essential to protect both organizations and is usually required before a grid-tied PV system becomes operational.
Even disconnects serving individual module strings do not provide complete protection. Awareness of the fire hazard potential of BMPV was raised about 10 years ago by fire officials in California. As a result, the Los Angeles Fire Department began strict enforcement of a preliminary set of requirements in 1999. California entities CalSEIA (California Solar Industries Association) and SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utilities District) developed training materials for firefighters in 2006. 5 are excellent resources for those interested in this topic.
Every system should have an easily located and well-marked disconnect at ground level and in a place where it can be easily reached. This disconnect will isolate the PV array from the grid, but will not necessarily eliminate the BMPV system as a hazard. Large commercial inverters usually contain capacitors that may take as long as 15 minutes to discharge. After disconnect, an array will usually shift to an open-circuit voltage mode, but will still be capable of delivering a shock if a complete contact is made.