Solar PV ground faults – find the position in 2 minutes

The Z100 PV Analyzer is a new type of solar PV testing instrument capable of measuring the position of solar PV installation electrical faults. In particular the Z100 PV Analyzer is probably the fastest solution on the market for finding the position of a solar PV installation ground faults.

PV ground fault detector

Troubleshooting for earth or ground  faults with The Z100 PV Analyzer is a fast and convenient way to increase field staff productivity and reduce transport costs, when carrying out solar PV operations and maintenance work. Often the process of finding  ground faults may take many hours. Especially if the ground fault is around 1-3 MΩ. In such cases it can be difficult to find the position of faults with conventional equipment and calculus.

The Z100 PV Analyzer offers a fully automated and advanced test routine that will let the field technician search for, and find ground faults within minutes. Getting started with the Z100 PV Analyzer is made easy. The basic steps are as follows:

  • Connect the Z100 to PV systems terminals: plus, minus and ground
  • Choose the “PV ground fault” icon on the Z100 graphical user interface
  • Enter the number of modules in the PV string
  • Press “Measure” and wait about 1 minute while the Z100 performs the analysis
  • Read RISO and the position of ground faults
  • Use “Timer” function when faults are periodic

Periodic solar panel Riso faults

In some cases solar panel earth faults are periodic, which means they are only present at certain times. Typically moisture in the morning will provoke solar system ground faults, and strings are down until the fault dries up in the sun.

The Z100 PV Analyzer has a build in ground fault detector that can measure the position of a ground fault in a solar PV system. The ground fault detector furthermore has a timer function, which means that the analyzer may be used for monitoring also.

The user can simply set a time interval suitable for “catching” the ground fault, and hence let the instrument measure for an extended time period e.g. 24 hours. When the user returns to the instrument e.g. after 24 hours of monitoring, the results may be downloaded and the position of the fault can be read.

Solar Ground fault troubleshooting

PV system ground faults occur if the insulation resistance RISO drops below a certain value of typically 2 MΩ. When this happens most string and central inverters immediately shut down operation, and the risk is thus massive energy losses, if an Earth Fault (or a PV ground fault) is not found and corrected. Also safety to persons and animals becomes an issue when a PV system is not isolated properly. Among many features, the Z100 PV Analyzer offers fast an automated PV Ground Fault analysis that leads to the exact localization of faults. In the illustration below we see the PV ground fault setup i.e. the instrument is connected at the system terminals, and from here the analysis is done automatically once the user has logged on to the instrument using an internet browser on a device that is set up for WiFi communication