Are there any serious electrical or fire hazards from rooftop solar power plants?

Before we start answering this question, let’s put things in perspective: There is a much higher chance of a fire from gas leaks from your piped gas or LPG cylinder, than from a solar power plant.

In comparison, solar panel accidents are pretty rare. Solar power plants have no moving parts and require minimal maintenance; these aspects make solar power plants quite safe.

However, solar power plants are electrical equipments. No electrical equipment is 100% risk free, and so isn’t solar. Fires can happen at solar power plant installations, though these usually are not the fault of the components themselves.

You see, most solar panels today are rigorously tested and certified for fire protection by international testing agencies like UL and TUV, and hence they are technically very safe. In the rare cases where fire incidents do happen, the usual culprits have been improper connections, faulty wiring or insufficient insulation for the cables.

With the above cautionary notes in mind, what can you do to minimize any risks from solar power plants to your building or personnel?

  1. Only hire quality installers – Having a high quality installer is the best way to get a high quality and hazard free solar power plant. To assist you in this, Solar Mango has compiled a checklist that will help you hire quality installers. Please see the Reference section at the end.
  2. Do not compromise on the quality of components – Ensure that the components chosen come with necessary certifications – be they panels, cables, or other sub-components.
  3. Ensure proper earthing for the system – Solar power plants, just like any other electrical system, need to be properly earthed. Now, unless you have an electrical engineering background, the only way you can ensure all the metallic parts of the system are properly earthed is by making sure you choose a professional, qualified installer.
  4. Ensure adequate maintenance – Make sure you have a maintenance and supervision routine for your solar plant. This will ensure that you identify faults in cables and other equipment before they become a fire hazard.

    Stuff to Remember

    Fire accidents due to solar plants, though rare, occur mainly due to faulty wiring and improper component selection. The best way to de-risk fire hazards is to choose a quality solar installer