Rooftop Solar PV and Firefighter Safety

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations have experienced significant growth in recent years. Due to technological innovations and cost reductions, solar energy is a viable option for an increasing number of residences and businesses across the United States. Rooftop solar is considered safe – to date there has been no documented case of death from the electric shock, chemical burn or conventional fire caused by a solar panel; however, as more buildings install rooftop solar systems, the likelihood increases that fires will occur on buildings with solar, making it critical for firefighters to receive comprehensive solar education and training. This SolarOPs fact sheet gives a brief overview of typical solar PV installations, addresses the major hazards and risks to firefighters, discusses fire safety in Germany (the country with the most installed solar PV per capita), and suggests recommendations and resources to ensure that first responders are prepared to fight fires on homes and buildings with rooftop solar PV.

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