From the Solar Module to the Grid Supply – Safety from Eaton

As one of the leading manufacturers of components and systems for electrical engineering and automation, Eatons Electrical Sector EMEA is presenting at the Intersolar 2011 fair a wide range of products and solutions which help the safe and efficient use of electrical energy.

Safety, from the solar module right through to the grid supply, plays a key role in the photovoltaic sector, where nothing is more important than investing in the right technology from the start. Eaton supplies all the products required for safely transporting the energy from the solar modules to the grid: The reliable protective, isolation and monitoring devices ensure the safe operation of the photovoltaic installation, as integrated or external disconnection devices in automated or manual operation, for both the DC and the AC circuits.

Solar inverters

This year at the Intersolar 2011 fair Eaton is presenting the expansion of its solar inverter product range for the first time. The new products are for the rated power class 10kW, 15kW and 20kW. All power inverters have a very high efficiency of over 98 % and are available with IP65 (10kW) or IP55 (15/20kW) protection. An integrated LCD display shows the entire status information. All variants are easy to install and equally easy to operate.

Photovoltaic fireman's switch

In the event of a fire PV installations are often unpredictable, particularly for fire crews: This is because accident prevention regulations stipulate that buildings that have not been isolated from the power supply must not be entered for indoor firefighting. The fire brigade always carries out the rescue of persons and animals in accordance with the "Photovoltaic rescue procedures" recommended by the fire brigade association. However, a water jet must have a minimum clearance of 1 m from live parts and with a full water jet this is 5 m, thus considerably making firefighting more difficult. This is the reason why fire brigades are looking for a safe disconnection device for PV installations. Eaton has developed a suitable disconnection device: The "SOL30-Safety" is a DC switch-disconnector (32 A) in an IP65 enclosure. This is installed in direct proximity to the PV modules and inserted in the DC cable to the power inverter. In the "Safety" switch position, both DC cables are interrupted. If in the event of a fire, the fire brigade isolates the entire house from the grid, the integrated undervoltage release automatically causes the tripping of the "PV fireman's switch" and thus also the isolation of the PV cables between the solar modules and the inverter.

DC switch-disconnectors for PV installations

The constantly growing requirements placed on the efficiency of PV installations require operating voltages above the previously usual limits of 1000 VDC. Typical applications for example are switch-disconnectors in generator terminal boxes, as well as isolating main switches that are suitable for use as maintenance and repair switches on the incoming side of the DC/AC inverter.

Eaton offers switch-disconnectors for up to 1500V DC and rated operational currents up to 1600A. All switches meet the requirements of DIN EN 60947-3 and comply with utilization category DC-22A for switching mixed resistive and inductive loads, including the fourfold overload with an L/R ratio of ?2ms. These conditions ensure that the contacts achieve an electrical lifespan of up to 2500 operations - at the full rated current. The mechanical and de-energized lifespan achieves values up to 20,000 operations. The switches thus provide sufficient reserve capacity to perform the standard duties of isolating maintenance and repair switches reliably and safely over many years.


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