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  • PV Circuit Breakers 




    PV Molded Case Circuit Breakers

    A Circuit Breaker is an OCPD (Over Current Protection Device) having the role to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overcurrent, typically resulting from an overload or short circuit. Its basic function is to interrupt current flow after a fault is detected.

    A solar PV installation works in both AC and DC and therefore selecting a Circuit Breaker must follow strict rules for the circuit section is providing protection.

    DC side of PV solar installation can be protected either using PV string protection using Fuses or with a Circuit Breaker solution, Same thing for the AC load connected to the inverter, it can be protected either with an AC molded Circuit Breaker or with Fuses based solutions. AC side of the installation uses Circuit Breakers with very little exceptions.

    In case of a fused solution on AC or DC side or on both, most of the time we will use a disconnect to physically separate the load or the PV array from the inverter and have the fuses service.

     We will consider only the DC side protections for the purpose of this study;

    Protection in a PV installation on DC side is built on PV fuses, PV Molded Case Circuit Breakers (MCCBs) and Molded Case Switches (MCS),

    Unlike typical grid-connected AC systems, the available short-circuit current within PV systems is limited, and the overcurrent protective devices (OCPDs) need to operate effectively on low levels of fault currents.

    Protection on the DC side has components for PV Output Circuits interface like String Combiner with Fuses and Circuit Breaker, and for Inverter Input Circuit interface based on a Recombiner connecting to the Inverter Input Circuit. Both, PV Output and Inverter Input Circuit must be proofed by means of calculations against the selected protection, therefore the selected Circuit Breaker, respective Fuses (and the rest of the B.O.S.), must check both interfaces.

    DC Circuit Breaker Interface

    Circuit Breakers in PV generation plants must meet and exceed the requirements of UL 489B: operating at 1.35 x In (1.35 times the nominal current) within 1 or 2 hours depending on amp rating (50A or less or over 50A respectively) and calibrated at 50°C ambient temperature.

    PV Circuit Breaker Logic

    Per UL 489B, PV circuit breakers are rated to standard test conditions in open air at 50°C. In actual applications, ambient temperatures in enclosures can exceed 50°C. When high ambient temperatures are encountered appropriate component derating must be taken into account in the specifying process.

    PV circuit breakers come in two application ratings: 80% and 100% of the value listed on the Name Plate as UL rating. To ensure the longevity of PV circuit breakers, each rating should be properly applied: a continuous current of 80% or 100% of the assigned UL ratings.

    PV circuit breakers are available in 600 and 1000Vdc types, with either 80% or 100% ratings. Understanding the difference between 80% and 100% rated circuit breakers is of most importance for system design.

    The major benefit of a 100% rated circuit breaker is the ability to apply 100% of its nameplate ampacity, allowing an opportunity for reduction in circuit breaker ampacity, frame size, conductor size and potentially the enclosure size.

    80% rated circuit breaker combine the total ampacity of the PV source circuits using a 1.56 derating factor (module Isc x 1.25 x 1.25 x numbers of strings in parallel).

    100% rated circuit breaker combine the total ampacity of the PV source circuits using a 1.25 derating factor (module Isc x 1.25 x numbers of strings in parallel).

     [Tech Support]  Read from Knowledge Base and download a pdf file @ Article:  Using Circuit Breakers in PV Installations. 

    The information posted herein has been compiled by Clean Energy Brands from OEM product data and reputable publications. All rights reserved!



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