Fire Departments should develop SOPs/OGs on fighting fires involving solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (also known as solar panel systems).
A PV installation typically includes:
- Array(s) of solar panels, because a single PV panel can only produce a limited amount of power, a typical PV system installation contains several panels connected together to form an array;
- Inverter(s), which is a power conversion unit that converts direct current (DC) generated by the array to alternating current (AC); and
- Interconnecting wiring.
PV systems are used for either on or off grid applications.
In the event of a fire, shutting down the electricity in a building with a PV system is more complicated than in a building without one because the system is energized from two sources (utility and PV system).
The PV system can be isolated from the rest of the building’s wiring system by shutting down the “Utility Disconnect” of the PV system in addition to the main electrical switch. These system disconnects are usually located near the meter, main electrical panel, PV system inverter and/or on the rooftop.