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Question #208493 01/23/13 12:12 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,254
HotLine1 Offline OP
Member
Has anyone seen, or heard of any solar panels burning??

I have a few pics of a roof fire, upwards of 200+ panels affected. The root cause is not determined as of now.



John
Tools for Electricians:
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208498 01/23/13 02:26 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,612
G
gfretwell Offline
Member
Keep us informed.

When you look at the currents involved in an array that big, a fire would not be totally unreasonable.
I think it will be a connection or a device in the system more than a panel but that is a guess.


Greg Fretwell
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208507 01/23/13 10:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,254
HotLine1 Offline OP
Member
Greg:
I put a pic up in mod photo area, I can't seem to move it here.

This one.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by gfretwell; 01/24/13 02:42 AM. Reason: added link to picture

John
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208510 01/24/13 02:44 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,612
G
gfretwell Offline
Member
I would really like to be in on figuring out where that fire started. If the poly tarp is any indication of the damaged area finding the origin may not be that easy.
I imagine it will just be called "electrical"


Greg Fretwell
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208512 01/24/13 07:52 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
T
Tesla Offline
Member
As fire departments around the nation weigh in...

More and more will find that residential rooftops are hardly ideal for PV arrays.

For the fireman have to fight a structure that can't really be de-energized while the Sun is out.

I expect someone to come out with foam blocker for just such a purpose.

BTW, silicon does burn -- just like charcoal -- once you get it hot enough. Instead of carbon dioxide -- you get white sand. (Silicon dioxide)

The reaction throws off plenty of heat, too. At least it's not a stinky reaction -- but the rest of the stuff is.

========

I'm inclined towards PV sourced power. I'm wary of it being installed 'at retail.'

I'm of the opinion that roof falls, fire hazards, and violation of roofer warranties will all cause us to regret ever putting them up.

What seemed so good in the science fiction novels is in reality highly impractical and excessively dangerous.

It's the roof falls. Have you seen the Workmans Comp rates for roofers?

They're in orbit.

Solar oriented ECs are grossly underpricing their risk.

The number one reason that roofers go out of business is roof falls.

At some point, the boys get too casual -- violate safety rules -- and everyone else picks up the pieces.





Tesla
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208517 01/24/13 03:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,612
G
gfretwell Offline
Member
Roof mount is popular because it is seen as wasted space but it does bring up it's own problems, as you noted.

I suppose the fix for shutting down the collector output would be a contactor in each collector, controlled by a master EPO.
If these have grid tie inverters in each collector, simply dropping utility power would do it.


Greg Fretwell
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208521 01/24/13 11:30 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,254
HotLine1 Offline OP
Member
Greg:
This is the combiner box closest to the assumed point of origin of the fire. No definitive cause or location was available as of this afternoon.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by HotLine1; 01/24/13 11:32 PM. Reason: Trying to post pic here

John
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208522 01/24/13 11:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,612
G
gfretwell Offline
Member
There was certainly a lot of magic smoke in that box.


Greg Fretwell
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208523 01/24/13 11:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,254
HotLine1 Offline OP
Member
Tesla:

Thank you for this:
"BTW, silicon does burn -- just like charcoal -- once you get it hot enough. Instead of carbon dioxide -- you get white sand. (Silicon dioxide)

The reaction throws off plenty of heat, too. At least it's not a stinky reaction -- but the rest of the stuff is."

I hope to have time to stop at the site tommorrow and check the removal progress. Also to find out if any definitive cause, or location of point of origin has been determined.




John
Re: Question [Re: HotLine1] #208524 01/24/13 11:42 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,254
HotLine1 Offline OP
Member
That is (was) a 16 string combiner box. Another adjacent to it has issues also, although not as 'well done'.

Ironically, this system was to go 'grid tie' next Saturday with a scheduled utility shutdown. Oh, well!!


John
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