SolarEdge Optimizer

Hi Greg,

A question for you in regards to house fires – if our house was to catch fire, what impact/effect would the modules have?
Just curious.

Thanks!

 

Hello,

Good question! I often read and hear about concerns that people have with solar modules catching fire or causing problems for firefighters. There are a ton of articles on the web that go into details, but the notes below sum up common issues.

Firefighter concerns:

  • Poor roof access. Firefighters may need to cut holes in the roof to let smoke and heat escape. In the US there are requirements that require minimum setbacks from roof edges so as not to fill entire roof surfaces with solar modules.
  • Being electrocuted by the solar modules. In the past cutting the power to the house in the event of a fire did not stop the solar modules from continuing to produce power during daylight hours. This was an extremely dangerous situation for firefighter that was remedied with rapid shutdown code requirements. Rapid shutdown systems quickly de-electrifies modules.

Do solar modules create fires:

Yes, solar modules have in the past created fires. Most experts familiar with solar modules state that solar PV systems are no more risky than any other electrical equipment. Older systems may be at greater risk if rapid shutdown requirements were not in place at the time of installation. A damaged system or one that was improperly installed will also carry risk since they have live wires, but the risk is not what it once was.

Hope I have answered your question,
Greg

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