Fire And Solar Panels: Addressing The Concerns
August 9, 2022
Currently, there are more than 2 million solar panel systems installed across the U.S. But more and more people are growing concerned about fire safety and wondering whether their panels could be at risk.
However, solar panel fires are extremely rare if panels are installed properly. But it never hurts to educate yourself on the topic to ensure the safety of you, your loved ones, your home and the environment.
Let’s look at how a solar panel fire can arise and the safety precautions you can take to ensure your system remains at low risk.
[Related: What to Know Before Installing Solar Panels]
Can Solar Panels Cause Fires, and What Causes Them?
Your panels could catch fire for several reasons. These include the following:
- Power surges (e.g., over voltage)
- Poorly designed products or systems
- Component defects
- Improper installation
All these factors can cause your system to have hot spots, which can lead to a fire. On a more technical note, they can lead to arcs between your system’s energy conductors and the ground.
So, are solar panels a fire hazard? Technically, yes. But they’re not nearly as common as other types of house fire hazards.
It’s relatively well known that solar panels contain live wires, meaning they constantly transmit electricity and therefore shouldn’t be tampered with. The same goes for any electrical device that’s plugged into a wall or connected to an energy source.
Wires need to be insulated. Otherwise they release heat, which is what causes short circuits, reversed circuits, arc faults and more.
This is a major reason you shouldn’t attempt to install a solar panel system yourself. It’s not really a DIY sort of project because far too many risks are involved.
But it’s extremely unlikely that solar panels will simply get too hot from their day-to-day energy generation. Solar panels are designed to withstand heat. So, even if you live in some of the hottest states (such as Florida, Texas and even Colorado), there is minimal risk of panels catching fire because they can withstand the amount of heat they absorb from the sun.
How You Can Reduce Solar Panel Fire Risks
Here are some ways you can help prevent your solar panels from catching fire.
Choose a Trusted Solar Installer
Solar panel company Freedom Solar is one of the most trusted solar providers in the country. We ensure quick and correct home solar installation or commercial solar installation to prevent fire and other risks.
Doing your research to learn about a company’s reputation and how many years of experience it has under its belt is crucial. But you should also look at its technician team and check whether it has the required licenses to install solar systems.
A trustworthy, credible business will always have the appropriate, up-to-date licenses and industry certificates representing the knowledge and skill to expertly install solar products. And as a result, your panels will avoid high risk of fire breakouts.
Buy Quality Solar Products
Quality is important with practically anything you’re thinking of buying, but it’s especially important for solar panels and other solar products.
Think about it this way: A solar panel system is something you’ll have for decades to come, so why not invest in the best? It’ll even save you money in the long run in terms of potential maintenance, repair work or replacements needed after your warranty period expires.
Compared to high-quality solar panels, low-quality panels have a higher chance of malfunctioning and causing fires. This is because premium panels are better made, without flammable frames and mounting systems.
Keep Up With Maintenance
As with any home improvement or technical product, routine maintenance is important.
Solar panel systems are electrical systems, and they certainly require regular maintenance to sustain high performance levels. Maintenance doesn’t mean deconstructing your entire system. But even removing dirt, debris, snow and more from your panels will keep them functioning optimally.
You should also watch for frays or holes in cabling from pests or rodents. Faulty cabling is one of the biggest solar panel fire risks. But this doesn’t mean you have to climb onto your roof and poke around.
Avoid DIY Installation
It might be tempting to install a solar system yourself, maybe because of the cost. However, this is never a good idea, especially if you’re uncertified. Solar providers usually include installation costs in the final purchase payout anyway.
Installing your own solar panels is not only risky but also leads to stress and not having peace of mind that your system is properly set up. If anything is incorrectly connected, there’s a higher fire risk.
Always rely on your solar provider or a hired service professional to install your panels.
Solar panel systems are complex. And because of that complexity, only trained electricians and solar installation experts should set them up. Relying on professionals will rid you of liability, ensure your system is secure and greatly reduce the risk of solar panel fire.
Impact of Solar Panels on Firefighters
Any local fire department will carry out their actions based on fire regulations for solar panels.
Because solar systems contain live wires, they are certainly a potential risk to firefighters. So if you’re a solar panel owner, you should label them in some way on your home or property. In the event of a solar panel house fire, let firefighters or the police know over the phone that you have solar panels installed on-site.
This will help emergency professionals take the proper steps once they reach your home or business. The first action they’ll likely take is switching off the system. Then, they’ll determine the cause of the fire once it’s been extinguished.
You should take solar panel fire safety incredibly seriously if you or your neighbors own solar panels. Solar panels aren’t a common cause of house fires, but they’re still a risk. Make sure you take the proper measures to keep you and your family, home, community and environment safe.
Contact Freedom Solar for Top-Rated Solar Panels
If you’re interested in going solar and working with some of the most trusted solar power installers in the industry, contact Freedom Solar. We provide SunPower solar panels, the highest-rated panels on the market, and ensure our technicians have all the licenses required for installation.
Call (800) 504-2337 or complete our inquiry form, and one of our solar experts will be in touch!
Featured image via Unsplash