Health & Safety (Solar Panels)

Solar panels pose safety hazard to firefighters

On 25.01.2014 a fire at a warehouse in the US state of New Jersey highlighted the risks for the health and safety of fire fighters by solar panelled roofs, including poor air quality and electrocution.

Among the challenges to fire fighters posed by roof-mounted solar panels are an increased risk of tripping and slipping, potential structural collapse due to extra weight, flame spread and inhalation exposure. In addition solar-thermal and photovoltaic systems pose different risks. While solar-thermal installations can lead to hot fluid scalds, photovoltaic panels can cause electric shock and battery hazards. Extra difficulties are also posed by the degree of roof-coverage, and the inability to de-energise the panels as they continue to be electrically charged even when the power in the building is shut off.

An issue that has not yet been resolved by the solar industry: read more

Some legislatures responded to this by mandating building owners to notify local fire officials of roof-mounted panels, or posting signs on the building front to signify the presence of solar panels: read more.

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