CEA identifies major safety concerns in 97% of audited rooftop PV systems


From pv magazine Global

In a safety audit of more than 600 rooftop PV systems, CEA found that 97% of installations have major safety concerns. The engineering services firm performed inspections in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, India, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, and France.

It shared the main results of the audit in a new report identifying the top 10 most common safety problems in the audited systems. It said that 49% of sites have grounding issues, 47% have damaged modules, 41% have cross-mated connectors, 40% have poor terminations and improperly assembled connectors, 31% have module hotspots, 27% have cables on sharp edges, 26% have broken or damaged connectors as well as water ingress, and 19% have enclosure hotpots.

“The vast majority of these hazards are caused by poor installation practices,” a company spokesperson told pv magazine. “This means most of them can be identified and resolved relatively easily before they lead to fires, safety risks, and potentially costly liabilities.”

CEA discovered that most grounding issues occur at the inverter or equipment pad, between PV array blocks and module rows, and along extended conduit runs, addressing the most common safety concern. It also found that damage to modules is often caused by incorrect installation or cleaning methods, including walking on modules, as well as extreme weather events like hail or wind.

CEA said that sites displaying cross-mated connectors often result from an incorrect understanding of UL-listed connector pairings and the use of field-made connectors that do not match the module connector.

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