Lightning protection of renewable energy power plants

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Dr. Szedenik Norbert
Department of Electric Power Engineering

Nowadays there is a rising need to produce electricity using renewable energy sources instead of conventional fossil fuel. Thanks to advancements in technology, a lot of methods are available to achieve this goal. Out of the numerous possible options, the most common are geothermal plants, hydropower plants, solar panels and wind turbines. These power generating units are, with some exceptions, tall objects standing on large open fields, and as such are in increased danger of lightning strikes. Geothermal plants may be built inside and outside of inhibited areas, hydropower plants are usually further away from cities, and so are wind turbines, but even if these are placed inside towns, these are considered extremely protruding compared to surrounding buildings. Solar panels are in a bit more particular situation, as these are either placed on top of buildings or are a part of solar park. If the solar panel is placed on top of a building its protection is provided by the building’s own lightning protection system. However, in case of independent solar parks, a separate lightning protection system is required. The new technologies naturally required expansions to existing standars, so in the last few years the IEC-62305 family of standards received numerous extensions, which deal with the design and implementation of lightning protection systems for power plants using renewable energy sources. The goal of this document is to study these aforementioned extensions, and to illustrate the lightning protection systems of power plants using renewable energy sources with examples.


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