The Impact of Direct Lightning Strike Damages on PV Modules in a Large Malaysian PV Farm
Many lightning risk analyses avoided considering the role of the PV Module’s aluminium frame as a natural lightning air termination system or if such a role is considered, assumed that the ‘thin’ aluminium frame, would not be damaged from metal melting and evaporation at the point of lightning stroke attachment. Although the IEC 62305 is not lacking in guidance on the use of thin metal sheets as air terminations, this aspect is not considered in PV farm design. To ensure correct inputs into the risk assessment calculation, the evaluation of interception and sizing efficiencies and the damage probabilities of the natural components have to be addressed. A comparative analysis is done between two types of air terminations; the PV-frame LPS and the finial-added LPS. The result indicates that for solar PV farms exceeding a certain size and operating in high ground flash density regions like Malaysia, the finial air termination may out-perform the PV-frame LPS.