October 14, 2009

Firefighters Contemplate Rooftop Solar Panels

Although I have no plans to put them on my house, I like the idea of rooftop solar shingles--especially if they can be integrated with the grid to pick up some of the daytime load.

Firefighters, however, have a different set of concerns. For example:

If there is a solar electric system involved, "pulling the meter" will only kill power coming in from the utility grid. Other circuits may remain live — household circuits if the system has battery backup or an auto-start gasoline generator, and PV circuits whenever the sun is shining. Multiple disconnects for various parts of the system are very common.

Some people in this county have roof-top solar panels. I am not aware of any in my little volunteer department's primary service area, but that is perhaps because I have not seen every single house.


Solar Pannels said...

I can't imagine a house on fire with expensive solar panels above being stomped by firefighters.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Don't count on it.

If there is a fire on an upper floor or in the attic, someone will be on the roof trying to vent it, so that the firefighters coming in from the lower floor and find and dowse the flames.

If there is a lot of smoke, it might be hard to tell what is a shingle and what is a solar shingle.

Or do you think that the owners of houses with "expensive solar panels" are somehow immune to fires.