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Overvoltage characteristics of atmospheric origin

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General rules of electrical installation design
Connection to the MV utility distribution network
Connection to the LV utility distribution network
MV and LV architecture selection guide for buildings
LV Distribution
Protection against electric shocks and electrical fires
Sizing and protection of conductors
LV switchgear: functions and selection
Overvoltage protection
Energy Efficiency in electrical distribution
Power Factor Correction
Power harmonics management
Characteristics of particular sources and loads
PhotoVoltaic (PV) installation
Residential premises and other special locations
ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Lightning strokes in a few figures: Lightning flashes produce an extremely large quantity of pulsed electrical energy (see Figure J4)

  • of several thousand amperes (and several thousand volts),
  • of high frequency (approximately 1 megahertz),
  • of short duration (from a microsecond to a millisecond).

Between 2000 and 5000 storms are constantly undergoing formation throughout the world. These storms are accompanied by lightning strokes which represent a serious hazard for persons and equipment. Lightning flashes hit the ground at an average of 30 to 100 strokes per second, i.e. 3 billion lightning strokes each year.

The table in Figure J3 shows some lightning strike values with their related probability. As can be seen, 50% of lightning strokes have a current exceeding 35 kA and 5% a current exceeding 100 kA. The energy conveyed by the lightning stroke is therefore very high.

Cumulative probability (%) Peak current (kA)
95 5
50 35
5 100
1 200

Fig. J3Examples of lightning discharge values given by the IEC 62305-1 standard (2010 - Table A.3)

Fig. J4Example of lightning current

Lightning also causes a large number of fires, mostly in agricultural areas (destroying houses or making them unfit for use). High-rise buildings are especially prone to lightning strokes.