The lighting protection by Trace Software International

The lightning protections

Lightning protection systems are used to prevent or reduce lightning strike damage.

According to NASA, there are 2,000 thunderstorms active all over the world at a given time and produce about 100 flashes per second. The number of annual lightning fatalities is difficult to estimate, ranging from 6 000 to 24 000 depending on the different studies; this not counting tens of thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.


Different scenarios may occur:

– The lightning strikes a structure directly
– Lightning strikes the ground adjacent to the structure
– Lightning strikes services connected to a structure such as, for example, power cables
– Lightning strikes the ground near services connected to a structure



Lightning protection by Trace Software International



When lightning reaches the earth, it generally does so directly on natural elements (trees, hills, water, etc.) but also occasionally on structures, buildings, pylons, and other artificial structures. This is a distinction that leads to the division into two distinct types of effect. Those described as “direct” that is due to the circulation of the current that heats the materials and those “indirect” that produce overvoltage by conduction, induction or increase in earth potential.




– Electric. This refers to electric voltages created by electric shocks when a certain field is struck by lightning. The occurrence of this event usually leads to fires.

– Thermal. The effect will be linked to the resistance of the affected material. There is a strong release of heat which causes a very high localized pressure. The consequences are fires or the melting of equipment.

– Electrodynamic. Near the place of passage of the lightning, the current appears a strong magnetic field generating voltages and induction currents on any conductive element located in its immediate field of action. Induced mechanical forces can cause deformation, tearing, destruction.

– Electromagnetic. Lightning current induces an extremely high voltage and an extremely strong electromagnetic field that generates very powerful electrical impulses that can damage sensitive electronic devices.

– Physiological. From nervous shocks to blindness or death, there are numerous damages that lightning can cause to the human being.




– Conduction: a surge that propagates along a conductor who has been in direct contact with the lightning. This effect is all the more destructive as most of the lightning energy is propagated across the entire network. This problem is solved by installing the installation with a suitable surge arrester.

– Induction: caused by the electromagnetic field radiated by lightning. It generates an overvoltage on the conductors proportional to the steepness of the lightning current rise. As a result, under the influence of sudden changes in current, cables and even conduits acting as antennas can be subjected to destructive overvoltage. This is why the placement of the underground network does not guarantee lightning protection.


Risk management includes the calculation of the potential hazards caused by lightning and provides the basis on which to make decisions to limit the disastrous consequences. Firstly, for a comprehensive risk analysis, it is necessary to take into account different factors: local meteorological risks, territorial morphology, the nature of the structures to be protected, the activities carried out, the fragility of the equipment, the strategic level of the plants, the rate of acceptable failure, etc.
There are various methods of risk analysis for this, which also vary according to national directives. The primary purpose of lightning protection is to protect buildings against direct lightning and the possible risk of fire or the consequences of lightning currents.



Lightning protection by Trace Software International


In Europe, the “Lightning Protection Standards EN 62305-1 to 4” dictates the guidelines on lightning protection. The first section mainly contains information on the risk as well as the characteristics of the phenomenon. The second section, on the other hand, is dedicated to risk management, thus also determining mandatory protective measures from both an economic and technical point of view, up to a tolerable level of risk. In the third section, the normative talks about the protection of structures and people from material damage and lethal situations caused by the lightning current. In these situations, a lightning protection system is external (external protection, air termination system, down-conductor system, and grounding) and internal (lightning equipotential bonding and separation distance). The fourth section talks about the necessary protection measures against the effects of the eventual occurrence of an electromagnetic field.


A special case of photovoltaic installations


In France, the standards and guides related to photovoltaic installations specify the measures to be implemented to provide protection against overvoltage of atmospheric origin or due to switching. It is also stated that, regarding the sensitivity and location of photovoltaic modules, particular attention should be paid to protection against the direct effects of lightning, especially for large installations.
For this purpose, standard NF C 15-100 proposes a simplified risk analysis taking into account, among others, the density of lightning, the type of installation, the type of power supply, the presence of lightning rods and the probability of risk to the safety of people and property.


archelios™ calc software by Trace Software International


archelios™ calc integrates this simplified risk analysis to check the adequacy of the surge arresters to be used in the photovoltaic system. This verification is mandatory for installations designed according to French standards and optional for those made with the IEC standard.


With the contribution of Philippe Au Petit – elec calc™ Product Manager at Trace Software International



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Trace Software International teams up with Luo Yang Economics School in China

Trace Software International teams up with Luo Yang Economics School in China

Last week Trace Software International announced a strategic partnership with the Luo Yang Economics School in China to provide the next generation of electrical engineering students with the know-how for competitive success.  The happening has been celebrated during the “School-Enterprise Cooperation Signing Ceremony”, which has taken place in the University on the 18th of October.

In their training, the students will adopt elecworks™–  the electrical CAD for the design of electrical installations and automation projects and elec calc™ – the software for size low voltage and high voltage electrical installations. This practical and innovative approach, known as “learning by doing” is all about learning through experience to acquire awareness on the process’  best practices and the skills to solve real problems. Thanks to the strategic simulation of realistic situations, the students will dispose of the right set of skills to succeed in the future workplace.


Trace Software International teams up with Luo Yang Economics School in China



This is the main purpose of the “elecworks™ Electrical Design Certification Center” and of the  “elec calc™ Electrical Calculation Center” in the Luo Yang Economics School in China.


Trace Software International is a global leader in the development of software solutions (CAD & CAE) and consultancy services for the industrial engineering, with a unique expertise in the design of electrical installations within Manufacturing, Energy, Building, Medical, Process & Plant and Transportation industries.



Trace Software International teams up with Luo Yang Economics School in China



CEO Pedro Puig by Trace Software International


The industrial landscape is changing, and companies need to harness the power to emerging technologies to stay competitive. If we provide students with the right expertise, they will represent a valuable asset for any organization just right after their graduation” said Pedro PuigCEO of Trace Software International.



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Solar Energy can light Africa up by Trace Software International

Solar energy can light up Africa

In Africa, the potential for solar energy is immense.  The continent is, in fact, is the brightest in the world. Its 30.37 million km² receive a solar irradiance equal to or greater than 2,000 kWh/ (m2 year).

In the management of the energy resources, increasing the production of solar energy and other forms of renewable energy should be the top priority for policymakers, if they are keen to foster the African power transition towards a more prosperous and sustainable future.  The African economies have been resilient. The growth of the real output has increased by 3.6% in 2017 and will reach 4.1% between 2018 and 2019 (African Economic Outlook 2018). Needless to say, when there is a certain growth in the economy of a country, inevitably there is also a rising demand for energy. And this is what is happening to Africa.  During 2017,  energy consumption increased by 2.9% and according to IRENA, the electricity demand should triple by 2030.


solar energy can light Africa up by Trace Software International

These numbers speak clearly: the levels of industrialization and productivity are improving in Africa. The management of renewable resources is becoming increasingly important as it encourages economic development. So currently, this is a real challenge for the “Continent of the Sun“. Africa is endowed with significant renewable resources of all forms: biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar or wind. This great energetic wealth could change the face of Africa forever.  In fact, the diversification of energy sources increases the power generation capacity; the energetic shift would then resolve two of the Achilles’ heels in the energy landscape: satisfying the rising demand as well as replacing the poor-quality supply networks with reliable and safe energy supply.

600 million Africans still live in the dark and, for approximately 730 million people, the most common form of supply is that of biomass (IEA, 2014).  But the change could be just around the corner. The renewable energy sector recorded an increase of 13% over the last year. Solar energy, instead,  grows at 19%.  McKinsey’s research shows that the capacity for energy production in Africa is 1.2 terawatts in total. Therefore, only solar energy, which Africa has in abundance, can supply around 10 terawatts of new energy.


Solar energy in Africa, Source McKinsey


The African continent is increasingly turning towards the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector to guarantee a safe and sustainable energy source both on and off-grid. In addition, it is a very economical solution with a fairly competitive cost structure. According to Irena Report, solar PV module prices have fallen rapidly since the end of 2009, to between USD 0.52 and USD 0.72/watt in 2015. At the same time, the balance of system costs also has declined. As a result, the global weighted average cost of utility-scale solar PV fell by 62% between 2009 and 2015 and could decline by 57% from 2015 levels by 2025. Globally, new capacity additions of solar PV have increased six-fold from around 8 gigawatts in 2009 to around 47 GW in 2015. Also, the realization time of a photovoltaic project and its implementations are shorter than to others. Solar PV is a highly modular solution, both on-grid and off-grid. It can provide lighting and electricity to a single home off-grid, can be incorporated into mini-grids that can scale from several kilowatts (kW) to many MW, and at utility-scale can achieve higher economies of scale.

The solar photovoltaic technology represents a realistic solution for the 40% of Africans living in rural areas, especially in sub-Saharan areas, and who do not have access to electricity. This specific segment of the population experiences various blackouts and failures of the deployment network and can live without electricity during whole days. The mini-network and off-grid projects do not require connection to a centralized or national transmission and distribution network and are therefore ideal for providing energy to those remote communities away from the existing transmission lines. Solar technologies and, in general, green technologies can promote a more inclusive economic development.


Solar energy can light Africa up by Trace Software International


Countries with low electrification rates have lower GDP per capita and are less developed. The basic rationale is that greater access to energy leads to improvements in health care, education, life expectancy, and economic opportunities.

Trace Software International has headquarters in Morocco and operated throughout the African continent thanks to resellers and partners. The company is helping companies to implement a more strategic technologic approach in their processes in order to get the best benefits out of their asset. In the solar industry, archelios™ suite, the photovoltaic software solutions to manage the entirety of a complete solar project, has helped enterprises to make relevant steps towards a greener future for Africa.


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