This is my 9th video interview with Tony Boniface President of Independent Power Systems filmed in Colorado.
SolarDave: Do solar panels increase the risk of a lightning strike?
Tony Boniface: Quick answer is yes. Anytime you put metal anywhere you are increasing the risk of a lightning strike.
In terms of being concerned about it, there are very little reports about panels getting struck.
A properly grounded system will minimize the likelihood of that happening. Has not been a problem and yes it will increase the likelihood. I would not be concerned about it.
2008 national code however is going to require that every single solar system have a lightning ground, so interestingly, if code thinks it is necessary they must be some issues going on. Or they are concerned once they is a substainal number of systems out there it could start having an impact and they need to be a little concerned with that.
SolarDave: You think like a lightning arrestor?
Tony Boniface: Nope, they want you to run a minimum No. 6 AWG copper wire off the array straight down to an auxilary ground rod which they are calling a lightning rod and unlike the rest of the grounding system it doesn’t necessary need to be tied to the rest of the ground system – they are considering a separate lightning ground.