Commercial rooftop PV system fires are a valid concern for building owners, but it is essential to note that the safety risks related to potential fire damage can be mitigated or prevented. Awareness and planning are key. In these systems, there is a risk of electrical breakdown, but with regular maintenance electrical faults and fires can be prevented. Ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your PV system through regular maintenance is crucial for production. However, safeguarding your investment against the threat of fire damage requires taking a few additional preventive measures to ensure overall safety.
How do I protect my PV system from Fire Damage?
Make a plan. Develop a fire safety plan based on best practices and create a training program for the safety management and risk mitigation of your PV system. Your plan should incorporate regular maintenance that includes frequent fire safety inspections. Fire safety inspections safeguard your solar system and ensure the protection of both property and, most importantly, individuals.
Your fire safety plan could include:
- Regularly scheduled fire inspections
- Evacuation procedure
- Detailed list of employees
- List of key emergency personnel to be contacted during off hour emergencies.
- Different alarms for different emergencies
- On or off-site shelter locations
- Preferred method to report emergencies
- Create a PV de-energize procedure in case of rapid shutdown
How do I partner with fire responders to ensure their safety in case of a PV fire?
- Alert your local municipality of the presence of your PV system
- Ensure sufficient access and working space for responders
- Ensure there are no hazardous chemicals near your system
- Have proper labeling on your DC cables
- Have a map of DC cable layouts readily available
What is involved in a PV Fire Safety Inspection?
At CES, our highly skilled NABCEP certified technicians conduct all inspections with the goal of ensuring site safety. Our approach to fire protection involves:
- Visual – We inspect all major equipment, cabling, terminations, and connections.
- Validate – We thermal image all major switchgear, disconnects, inverters, and junction boxes.
- Verify – We look at inverter operations, maintenance, and electrical testing. We perform a torque verification of any overheating terminations found during the thermal imaging
How often is a PV Fire Inspection needed?
This depends on system type and system size. The age of the system is not a factor. All PV systems should have fire protection steps in place. At minimum, we recommend a yearly inspection, and we partner with you to find an inspection frequency to meet your fire prevention goals.
Regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance are essential for fire prevention. Taking the first step through planning and budgeting ensures that safety is taken seriously. Conducting thorough assessments and proactively mitigating fire risks not only preserves lives but also avoids substantial losses in productivity and property damage. Our skilled experts possess the knowledge to enhance the safety and efficiency of your systems.