Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Dangers of Solar Panels

On 20th April a large fire at Hove Town Hall erupted, apparently caused by an electrical fault in solar panels on the roof.

The blaze produced a large column of black smoke that rose over Brighton and Hove.

Ironically, despite the fact that all things green are deemed to be safe, there is an additional risk wrt solar panels. As per Solar Power Portal:
"Research commissioned by the DCLG and carried out by BRE on fire safety and solar electric/photovoltaic systems, identifies the major obstacle facing firefighters: “In contrast to the power used by conventional mains electrical equipment, the power that PV systems generate is DC (direct current) and parts of the system cannot be switched off. DC installations have a continuous current, making them more hazardous (volt for volt) than normal AC (alternating current) electrical installations.”  

The issue is that a household’s AC supply can easily be shut off by firefighters, however, the DC current supplied by the solar panels will also be generating as long as the sun is out. 

How a firefighter approaches a house fire in a property with solar installed
According to Kent Fire and Rescue Services
  • Conduct a risk assessment to identify if any solar thermal (ST) of photovoltaic panels (PV) were or likely to be affected by fire
  • Identify the system fitted (we would treat as PV if not clear)
  • Isolate the main consumer unit
  • Identify the location of inverter and isolation switches and isolate
  • Inform personnel about the existence of the system in place and highlight the hazards present (electrical and risk of collapse)
  • Any fires within the inverters would be extinguished with a dry powder extinguishing agent
Additional control measures would be applied when appropriate:
  • Ladder contact with PV systems would be avoided
  • A safety officer would monitor for signs of collapse
  • A cordon would be established below panel arrays
  • Avoid application of firefighting water directly on to the PV array
  • Electrical rated gloves would be used for any contact with components of PV arrays and wiring
  • Consider covering the PV panels to reduce the generation of DC power
  • Seek specialist advice where necessary"  
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1 comment:

  1. Meanwhile a house that could otherwise have been saved from serious damage burns to the ground...

    Indeed, many brigades are now told to "stand back and watch" when PV panels are involved. The risk of electrocution to their people is just too great.