The solar industry is constantly looking to make solar systems safer – including the safety of solar installers, as they are dealing with the risks every day. The major risk for solar installers is the time spent on the roof and potential falling, similar to roofers, who are in the top 5 of injured professions.
Unfortunately, Module Level Shutdown in the NEC 2017 and the lack of good solutions to comply with this requirement, force installers to spend more time on the roof. Having additional devices for every PV module significantly increases the number of electronic components on the roof. The installation of Module Level Power Electronics and their increased number of connection points means more time spent on the roof and thus increased risk of falling, slipping, or tripping. Over the 20 year lifetime of a system, the increased number of components and connection points exposed to the elements, will require a high number of service trips and more time spent on the roof.
Since every electronic component has a failure rate and a wear rate, these service cases are certainly going to happen. This creates an unnecessary and real hazard. A common but overlooked reality is that many homeowners are unable to find technicians willing to take these service calls at a reasonable price. Therefore, homeowners are being forced to exchange components on the roof themselves – an extremely risky undertaking.
To restore solar installer safety, let's fix module level shutdown now and make solar simple, safe, and more reliable.
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