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Solar panels and fire: How fire departments safely (and easily) handle solar homes

One of the big misconceptions about solar panels is that they produce electricity nonstop and thus are a major hazard for fire departments dispatched to fight home fires. After all, putting water on an electrical fire is not smart, right? The good news is, fire departments (and homeowners) have nothing to worry about in this regard.

When fire departments arrive to a house fire where solar panels are interconnected to the power grid, they have two options to kill the power on your solar panels, and both ways are very quick. The first way is by turning off your inverter by a simple flip of the switch located on the front panel (see picture below). That forces the panels to shut down in 10 seconds or less, which is three times faster than the average television commercial and why inverters can tout rapid shutdown capability. Firefighters also turn off the AC disconnect box (also seen below) as added protection.

solar panels-Power Home Solar-solar system-design

The other way that firefighters can disable your system is by shutting off the power to your home entirely. That is done by cutting the tag located at the bottom of the metering box/can and opening the panel to remove the meter. Removing the meter from its housing shuts off your home’s power.

SOLAR EDUCATION: Learn more about the ABCs of solar from Power Home!

Those new to solar may not understand why grid-tied solar panels must shut down in the event of power outages. That shutdown must happen because utility workers cannot have excess energy produced by your panels still feeding back to the grid when they are dispatched to repair downed lines. Failure of your panels to shut down would create a dangerous “islanding” condition for those workers.

The bottom line is that the rapid shutdown feature exists for safety, whether it be for unplanned outages or in the event of a fire. With this safeguard in place, firefighters will never have electrical safety concerns using water to fight fires involving solar, and thus it doesn’t have to be a concern of yours as you consider adding solar panels at your home.

With our innovative solar program, homeowners can go solar for $0 up-front cost, save money on their electric bills, and generate their own clean energy. The solar panels installed on your home are American-made and come with a 30-year warranty, with many panels expected to last well beyond that.

Please feel free to fill out the form below or contact Power Home Solar at 800-765-2715, and one of our solar representatives will help you determine whether your home qualifies for this program.

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