Installing solar panels on the water creates new, but also familiar challenges that we know within the PV industry. We got to work finding and solving the new challenges!
Often these installations are on open water or at public locations. Here you want to store valuable equipment safely. In addition, you don’t want to expose the inverters and other technology to all kinds of weather conditions (both wet and sunny). Conduct has developed the PV container for this purpose. This container provides a complete seal against direct sun and rain. The PVcontainer will be IK10 secured, so it will not be accessible to unauthorized persons without tools or keys.
As is well known, DC cables are often the parts with the most risk within a solar panel installation. This is no different for solar panels on the water (also called floating). There is also a greater challenge in installing on the water. The movement of the water also causes movement in the cable management. RoofSupport cable tray (plastic or EZ1000) provides a smooth surface that protects the cables from damage due to rubbing/abrasion. In addition, you must consider cabling that goes around corners. The swell of the water causes the cables to rub against the edges. This can be prevented by applying an angle roller.
Earthing and equalization also remain tricky issues in floating solar farms. The NEN 1010:2020 – 712 states that. 542.101 potential equalization of metal frames: in a PV system where potential equalization is required, the metal support structures to which the PV panels are attached, including the metal cable tray systems, must be equalized. The equalizing line shall be connected to a suitable grounding connection point. Where aluminum structural members are used, appropriate connection materials must be used for this purpose to obtain proper equalization of all metal members.
We often see that floating solar panel systems are placed on plastic floating parts. These parts are not attached to each other by conductive parts. This ensures that no current can flow. However, because a magnetic field can occur in larger installations, some solar panel manufacturers indicate that all panels should be equalized to prevent accelerated degradation of the solar panels. This is because these magnetic fields can accelerate the degradation of the panels. (I am checking this further)
This is where a dilemma arises. The NEN indicates that it does not seem necessary to equalize because of the plastic substructure. However, the supplier indicates that equalization is necessary. The manufacturer’s manual takes precedence and equalization must therefore be carried out to guarantee the life span.
Lightning and surge protection
Solar panel installations on water are often located in large open expanses. By installing solar panels (metal frames), you create a high probability of an impact on the solar panel field. To make sure you secure your equipment (read inverters, among other things), you want to add extra protections to this. You can do this by using PVboxes. PVboxes are standard delivered with a Type 1+2 SPD per MPPT. Given the many possibilities that we offer by adding AC and/or DC switch-disconnector and possible AC SPD or stringmonitoring, it is best to contact us for appropriate advice.
In addition to cabling, as with non-floating installations, you want to have the ability to de-energize your system for maintenance or safety, among other things. Since this is now on water, you have to take into account an extra high waterproofing of cabinets and components. For this we use Bress cabinets. These cabinets are fully lockable and provide a safe and watertight seal for the switch equipment that can be remotely operated (FireSwitch).
Since we install on the water, the quality of the cabling is essential. KBE has a special cable that is resistant to this. This cable has an extra thick sheath which ensures that the cable can remain in the water for a longer period without being damaged. Of course you want to make sure that the cable does not touch the water with the right cable management. If the cable unexpectedly touches the water, then this KBE cable will not cause any problems.
Conduct supplies a cable certified according to the new TÜV directive 2 PfG 2750/09.20 (PV 1500-WR). It is designed to meet the high requirements related to offshore solar power plants (FPV) on water and reservoirs. Excellent water and UV resistance ensures high failure safety and long service life. Furthermore, this wire complies with all relevant standards such as EN 50618, IEC 62930 & TÜV 2 PfG 1169/10.19.
Wil je meer informatie of heb je vragen over de brandveiligheid bij een te ontwerpen drijvende zonnepaneelinstallatie? Neem contact met ons op, dan ontwikkelen we samen een complete oplossing!