Add solar panels and lose your home in a fire

Solar panels are not close to being cost effective since the energy savings won't offset the capital costs of the panels, but now there might be a new bigger cost: some real difficulties for firefighters.  My guess is that this will show up in higher insurance premiums for buildings with solar panels.  From Fox News:

Firefighters across the nation are alarmed at the prospect of battling blazes in buildings topped with solar panels, which can create new risks of roofs collapsing, an inability to gain footing and even potential electric shock. 
Two recent fires involving structures decked with solar panels have triggered complaints from fire chiefs and calls for new codes and regulations that reflect the dangers posed by the clean-energy devices. A two-alarm fire last week at a home in Piedmont, Calif., prompted Piedmont Fire Chief Warren McLaren to say the technology “absolutely” made it harder on firefighters. Weeks earlier, in Delanco, N.J., more than 7,000 solar panels on the roof of a massive 300,000-square foot warehouse factored into Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt’s refusal to send his firefighters onto the roof of a Dietz & Watson facility. 
“We may very well not be able to save buildings that have alternative energy,” New Jersey’s Acting Fire Marshall William Kramer told The Star-Ledger. . . .



Blogger kai zimmer said...

Solar panels are made of numerous solar units, furthermore known as photovoltaic units that are attached with each other and put in a frame. These solar units are responsible with apprehending the sunlight and change it into energy.
Solar Shop

10/03/2013 5:23 AM  
Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

What is missing here, is that when one is fighting a fire, one needs roof access so as to make an opening to vent out the hot gasses from the interior of the structure.

This makes it safer and easier to fight the fire by not only lowering the temps, and removing toxic hot gases, but helping also to prevent a backdraft.

One can also see the advantage of not having to deal with a weakened roof structure that has been made even heavier by the addition of solar panels.

10/04/2013 1:50 PM  

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