Solar heat
Apr 21, 2015
Bishop Hill in Energy: solar

A fire at Hove Town Hall was caused by solar panels on its roof, it emerged today.

"The source of the fire is believed to be an electrical fault with a solar panel on the roof. An investigation is under way."

The council said all its solar panels were checked annually, with those at the town hall checked two weeks ago.

ESF&RS said solar panels were no more dangerous than any other electrical product.

Although according to this website, this is not actually true

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.

The whole article is pretty interesting, pointing out for example that if a fire breaks out in your solar panels, it is not going to get picked up by your smoke detectors.

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