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Why Your Solar System Needs a Rapid Shutdown Switch

Your plumbing has an emergency shutoff valve. Standard electrical wiring can be fully disconnected in an emergency. And your solar power needs to be able to completely disconnect as well. But why isn’t it enough to simply shut off your solar inverter? Why do you need a rapid shutdown switch? Keep reading to learn more about these and their role in your solar setup.

Why It Was Implemented

Early solar PV systems weren’t equipped with rapid shutdown switches. However, in 2014, the National Electrical Code (NEC) was updated to include a requirement for all such systems to have a rapid shutdown option. This was implemented in order to provide firefighters with a quick and easy method to completely de-energize the conductors on PV systems and make it safe to access the roof of a building during a fire.

What Happens without One?

Now, you might be thinking, “Doesn’t my solar inverter act as a shutoff switch? Why do I need another one?” The truth is, when you switch off the inverter on a standard string inverter solar system, the DC wiring will remain live if the sun is shining. This means that there are still active electrical current running through your roof. A rapid shutdown kit from Outback Power completely shuts off these currents, making the rooftop safe for emergency access.

Installing a Rapid Shutdown Switch

If you have a solar PV system, but don’t have a rapid shutdown switch connected to it, you should seriously consider installing one as soon as you can. In the event of an emergency, the absence of such a switch could endanger the lives of rescue personnel and anyone they’re trying to help.

Installing a rapid shutdown kit from Outback Power is easy. They can be mounted indoors or outdoors, vertically or horizontally, under an array or on racking—so you can install them wherever they provide the greatest safety for your home. This device will provide a way for first responders to safely de-energize conductors and open all ungrounded circuits from all sources of power. They can also be integrated into a wide range of systems, and are easy to maintain.

Improve the safety of your solar PV system with an Outback Power Skybox rapid shutdown kit, and get your array in compliance with the National Electrical Code. Be sure to consult with a professional to ensure you purchase a shutdown kit that is compatible with your setup, and ensure that it is installed correctly and in compliance with the most recent updates to the National Electrical Code.

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