“Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???

waynefromnscanada
waynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
A year ago, fire trucks arrived on the scene of a blaze at a cheese and deli-meat distribution facility just outside of Philadelphia. But firefighters had to keep their distance because of worries that the thousands of solar panels on the roof were still generating power, putting them at risk of electrocution. The building was completely destroyed.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/solar-panels-pose-power-problem-for-firefighters-prompt-new-guidelines/article21740616/

Comments

  • KenZ71
    KenZ71 Solar Expert Posts: 58 ✭✭
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???

    Our local building inspector told me about this while inspecting just before we powered up the solar system.

    I kinda thought it was about the same reaction First Responders used to have about hybrid cars or even air bags when they first became popular.

    After a while, they become common and no one thinks twice.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???

    Even years later after airbags have been required in cars, fire fighters are still getting "bit" (from 2011):

    Don't ever assume that power is dead--You have to make sure. And with solar panels--That is even more of a difficult situation.

    At some point, I would guess that remote disconnects like Midnite's are going to be required at each solar array. If buildings are left to burn because fire fighters are afraid/or unable to extinguish fires due to power being fed by solar arrays--Insurance companies are not going to accept the risks.

    One conduit from my roof to my GT inverter is easy to see. A large solar array+inverters on a factory/store/airport/etc. is a different matter.

    Add battery banks and stored fuel for off grid/emergency backup system (both old school, but still offering surprises in emergencies) still are problems (fuel, acid, high current from battery banks)--And anything else (vehicles, propane, ammunition, etc.)--I am sure it has its moments.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • oil pan 4
    oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 767 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???

    I used to clean out the bug zaper with a hose while it was plugged in. Just to scare my mom. I never felt a tingle or twinge.
    All you have to do is not direct a laminar stream of water on to the energized circuit. Stand back far enough to let the water thoroughly break up before contacting anything with powered and make sure you don't end up standing the same puddle as the energized item.
    Firefighters, they just haven't taken a basic electrical class or watched mythbusters.

    If you are afraid to direct a garden hose stream of water on a burning, possibly energized solar panel and want to watch your house burn from the solar panels to the dirt line be my guest.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • CDN_VT
    CDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???

    Sorry for hi jacking the thread , Cleaned

    VT
  • waynefromnscanada
    waynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???
    CDN_VT wrote: »
    What a crock , THIS IS MY JOB ! , full BS video & they are Volunteer fire fighters (wash the Ashes away off the foundation group )

    Sorry , this type of posting , leads folks off course .
    I see the worst of these type of end results .
    Most fire departments (who collect more than school taxes) have not read or studied extraction . I have taught classes with fire fighters who never show up !!
    Taxes Wasted !!! (they haven't got a clue , or care)
    If you want a link to the OEM's area file of Extraction , that all Manufactures MUST post , but less than .003 download of the fire departments !! I'LL post , but this is a sparky forum

    PLEASE !!
    I'Ve been in the Total Loss of a smashed car(hopefully no guts hanging off) & later to read the black box (in court ) . 2001 & ltr , the record is huge PLUS. as the same gent who works for the other car manufacture , who has the same info .

    VT

    Being a Volunteer Firefighter for 30 years and trained to level one, I take exception to this grossly derogatory post against my fellow Volunteer Firefighters, who have regular jobs, family and many other commitments, yet volunteer their time as much as they can for the betterment of their communities. It's very easy for the well paid "elite" in this world to sit back and condemn the "lower classes" who are there, not for the money, but to do what they can for their community, when they can, because there is no one else doing it. I don't doubt there are from time to time Volunteers who don't show up for certain training courses, not everyone can afford to take time off work whenever they like, not everyone can take time off work and not get fired. And yes, our VFD has had vehicle extraction training and we renew it every year. We are well aware of the extreme dangers of modern air bag systems, including the little cylinders hidden around the doors and charged to as much as 10,000 PSI. I'm well aware that not all VFDs are the same, or operate the same way. Some, like ours are properly funded, others have little time for training, having instead to spend their time fund raising to afford to keep heating oil tanks full so the pumps don't freeze. But we're there, doing what we can for our communities because no one else will.
    And yes, last year we did "wash the ashes off" one foundation. An older home beside a new one under construction. The fire was discovered in a fully engulfed state at 3 in the morning by a passerby on his way home from a party. We responded, the house was indeed a total loss, but guess what - - we saved the new house with only a patch of vinyl siding melted and needing to be replaced. Truthfully, I remember a few basements we saved over the years, but I also remember many instances where we saved insurance companies and homeowners from huge losses. We are there for our communities when no one else is.
  • Organic Farmer
    Organic Farmer Solar Expert Posts: 128 ✭✭
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???

    In this area, we have a lot of off-grid homes.

    My town does not have a FD, we do not want the higher taxes. Most towns in this region do not have FDs. One of our neighboring towns does have a FD, and I have spoken with them on the topic of addressing a off-grid home. They cover the Solar Panels with tarp.

    Most off-grid homes here are older homes and they run strictly 12VDC homes.

    Newer setups have sub-panel junction-boxes near the Solar Panel array with a labeled breaker.



    The FD is very proud that after many decades of fighting fires, they have never lost a stone or concrete foundation. :)
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???

    And I am sorry, I did not mean to disparage anyone. I was trying to say that if you throw an arbitrary group of people at an emergency situation--Things happen.

    The "complexity" that our world is making for "devices" these days is staggering (large battery banks full of exotic metals and electrolytes, a number of "virtual explosives" scattered through the interior of a car, etc.). Even if you had three degree'd engineers at each scene (to research and argue for 2 hours...), you are left with a choice between entering a potentially dangerous situation, or walking away.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • oil pan 4
    oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 767 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: “Solar panels don’t cause fires" ???
    little cylinders hidden around the doors and charged to as much as 10,000 PSI.
    I believe those cylinders are being replaced in newer vehicles with a small explosive charge, like a shotgun 209 primer.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.