The Project E Solar Farm, a proposed 31MW PV farm in the northeast of the UK, engaged GreyMatters to address critical aspects of its infrastructure. Working in collaboration with a major European solar developer, GreyMatters provided a suite of essential services, including a Soil Resistivity Study leading into an Earthing Study and detailed Earthing Layout Drawings. Additionally, a Lightning Protection Risk Assessment (LPRA) was conducted to ensure the safety and resilience of the solar farm.
Challenges: Efficient Earthing and Service Disruption Mitigation
A significant challenge in the Project E Solar Farm project involved estimating the potential disruption to service in the event of a lightning strike. GreyMatters drew upon its extensive experience with similar solar farms and collaborated closely with our client to propose an efficient solution to their earthing requirements within practical parameters.
The challenge was approached by addressing the estimated disruption to service caused by a lightning strike. Rather than adopting a typical conservative approximation that a lightning strike would entirely disrupt service provision, GreyMatters took a nuanced approach. Recognising the use of central inverters (a conservative assumption), the disruption to service was scaled relative to the number of inverters. Identifying four inverters, it was assumed that a lightning strike would disrupt service to approximately one-quarter of users. This solution maintained a conservative approximation while avoiding the overestimation of protection measures, providing an efficient and tailored approach to mitigate potential disruptions.
The Project E Solar Farm project illustrates GreyMatters’ commitment to providing tailored solutions for optimal resilience in solar infrastructure. By leveraging the previous experience and collaborating closely with our client, GreyMatters navigated challenges, ensuring that the proposed earthing design and lightning protection measures strike the right balance between safety and operational efficiency. This collaborative effort contributes to realising a robust and efficient solar farm.