Solar Rapid Shutdown Device: What It Is & Why You Need It

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In this blog, we'll discuss one of the most common requirements for solar systems: shutdown device.


What is Solar Rapid Shutdown Device?

Rapid shutdown is a regulation that requires solar energy systems to have what is essentially a solar panel shut-off switch.

Shutdown device requirements are only applicable to roof-mounted solar systems. If you’re planning on installing a ground-mounted solar system, you won’t have to install a rapid shutdown switch.


Why Is Rapid Shutdown Important?

If the sun is shining and your solar system is in proper working order, there is a charge going through it. In most cases, this is perfectly safe because it is contained in the conduit that runs from panel to panel to inverter.

However, in some emergencies, these conduits can be damaged, exposing nearby people to the charged electricity. This can pose a danger to firefighters and other first responders who may need to access areas around the solar system.

With the Quick Shutoff feature, first responders can quickly disconnect power to these pipes, allowing them to safely access the area around the system.


Installing a Rapid Shutdown Switch

Solar systems are not inherently unsafe for first responders. If your system was installed before the need for a quick shutoff arose, it may not put you or your building at further risk. That said, it's certainly a requirement worth following and should be followed according to local guidelines.