Installers are here and in the process of installing a PV solar panel system on
my house for electricity generation.
My question is about how they should ground the roof rails.
Their plan is to: (1.) Run the ground wire from the roof rail system directly
to the ground bus in the house's main circuit breaker panel, and NOT install
any separate ground rods to ground the roof rails directly to the earth.
Is that acceptable for lightning protection? (The concern is lightning, not
code conformance, because the town inspector will be here this afternoon to
insure code conformance.)
This design seems less than ideal because the existing ground wire from the
house circuit breaker panel makes several small-radius turns between the panel
box and the ground rod. Plus it brings lightning energy from the roof into the
house and right into the circuit breaker panel box if the roof gets hit.
There are two other things that I can think of that could possibly be done,
either alone or in addition to (1.) above:
(2.) Run the roof ground wire down to one or two ground rods driven at a point
that allows for the shortest, straightest possible ground wire.
(3.) Run the roof ground wire down to the existing main house ground rod that
is bonded to the panel. (As a practical matter, they would strip part of the
existing ground wire insulation and connect to that wire with a split bolt at a
point about 18" above the ground. My preference would have been a cad weld, but
I don't think that will be possible because they aren't equipped for that.)
I plan to eventually run a full perimeter ground around the house and bond it
to my 3 or 4 towers. But I have not run it yet, because I haven't installed my
I am planning to tie the perimeter ground to the existing house ground rod,
hopefully by cad welding, as well as to my station ground.
Is (1.) above sufficient? Should they also do (2.) and/or (3.) and/or
Another option would be to let them just do (1.) now, and then later when I
install the perimeter ground, I could run another ground wire from the roof
rails to the perimeter ground.
Curious if you have any thoughts on grounding option 1 vs. 2 vs. 3 vs. a
combination of them.
How have other hams who have solar arrays grounded the array?
Hoping for very quick answer to this question, because they guys are here now
and they need a decision today so they know where to run the wires.
(If you are reading this after 5 PM EDT on Oct 9, then you don't need to spend
any time replying, because it will be too late to change the design.)
Thanks in advance to all you lightning and grounding experts,
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