Over the last eighteen months a ‘quiet revolution’ has taken place in UK homes, with more than 500,000 households now enjoying the clean energy and financial benefits of solar panels – photovoltaics (PV). And with the photovoltaic industry currently installing approximately 1,900 new schemes on average every week, the UK sustainable energy homes market is set to continue expanding.

The uptake of photovoltaics and – to a lesser degree – other sustainable energy home technologies, such as heat pumps and wind turbines, means that more and more domestic residences exceed the parameters of their original, conventional building electrical specifications. The same is true of domestic residences that embrace new ‘smart home’ automation technologies.

The introduction of these sustainable energy and smart home automation technologies not only requires an upgrade of domestic electrical infrastructure, but – just as importantly – the vital necessity of ensuring comprehensive lightning protection and surge protection is in place. 

When lightning strikes a building – or strikes indirectly within a kilometre of it – as much as 6,000 volts of electricity can surge into the electrical installation via the metallic cabling that serve it, including those used for power, phone connections, sustainable energy and smart home automation. These surges (correctly termed as transient overvoltages) can disrupt, degrade and even damage connected electrical and electronic equipment – all leading to costly downtime.

With over 300,000 lightning strikes in the UK every year, and the continued uptake of smart home energy and automation technologies, the threat from electrical surge through lightning strike dramatically increases. Why? Because even though these products are earthed, in all likelihood they may not be protected from lightning strike, since the surge of current generated can pass through the wiring of a building in any direction – including travelling up from the earthing points and passing through multiple electronic systems before the current is dissipated to a safe point.

Fortunately electrical engineers, electrical contractors, electricians and electrical system installers can avert this risk, thanks to ABB Furse lightning protection and surge protection solutions.

Our unrivalled range of electronic systems protection (ESP) solutions are specifically designed and manufactured to address the individual protection requirements of the equipment they serve:

Photovoltaic solar panel systems are best protected at their DC input by our ESP PV series which offers combined Type 1 and 2 tested protection (to BS EN 61643) where a structural lightning protection system (LPS) is employed. The ESP PV series provides enhanced protection (to BS EN 62305) offering low let-through voltage, further minimising the risk of sparking or electric shock due to flashover. ESP PV series is available for both 550 V and 1000 V voltages.

Wind turbines are just as well protected through our ESP WT series, again providing Type 1 and 2 tested protection (to BS EN 61643-11) for use on 690 V three phase mains power supplies and power distribution boards. 

Furthermore, ABB Furse have a wealth of experience, expertise and product/service solutions for protecting domestic data lines, telephone cables, satellite dish connections, CCTV systems, alarms, electric vehicle charge point and many other smart home applications. To learn more visit the Furse website or contact our team in the UK on +44 (0) 115 964 3700


ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in roughly 100 countries and employs about 140,000 people.