Solar and Fire Safety

Solar and Fire Safety image

Do I need to worry about them lighting on fire?

This is one of the most common questions we get from customers who are preparing to install a solar array on their home or business, and there is definitely logic behind the query. After all, solar panels are electrical equipment, and all electrical equipment has some fire hazard associated with it. Also, anything sitting on top of the roof in a New Mexico summer is bound to get very hot.

In the solar industry, we are quick to dismiss this concern for a few different reasons. First, research indicates that less than .01% of solar installations have ever resulted in rooftop solar-caused fires, making solar panels one of the safest forms of electricity. In the rare cases where solar-caused fires have happened, the cause was nearly always rooted in un-vetted technologies or faulty wiring. Like any purchase, choosing stable and reputable brands reduces risk considerably.

One example of solar technology that has unfortunately caused some damage is Solyndra solar panels. The solar panels developed by this manufacturer were an unstable tube design that was not properly vetted and has caused some problems. Affordable Solar, and the vast majority of solar installers across the nation, use photovoltaic (PV) panels that generate electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun. These cells are manufactured and developed in such a way to be extremely stable.

Beyond using the safest, most thoroughly tested solar equipment available, we are also an industry that has a rigorous inspection policy to ensure that all the electrical wiring is completed to the highest standard. These inspections and the strict licensing requirements for electricians further reduce the risk of fire originating from solar equipment.

While your solar array might not cause a fire, we sometimes encounter concerns about the safety of having a solar system on your home in the event of a fire. Strict fire safety guidelines have been implemented into solar design across the country to address this concern. Solar panels are required to be placed 3’ from the edge of a home or business owners roof to ensure access for firefighters and other emergency response professionals in the case that a fire originated anywhere in the home or building.

As always, we welcome any questions and thank you for being part of the solar energy future.

Ryan Centerwall Photo
This post authored by:
Ryan Centerwall

Ryan Centerwall has been a passionate believer in the viability of solar for years. Ryan studied Biochemistry at the University of California Santa Barbara, although his pursuits in more recent years have been devoted to business. During his years in the mortgage finance industry, Ryan learned skills he would later deploy in making residential and commercial solar possible for increasing numbers of property owners. Ryan has been with Affordable Solar since 2008 when he was recruited by the company to laun...