Safe Home Solar system

It's time to speak out loudly most existing solar installations are not safe enough!

Google "Solar fire, dc arc fault", you'll find out why series connection by string inverter without modular rapid shutdown(RSD) on DC side is a high risk during the operation time(over 20 years usually)on your solar rooftop.

We strongly recommend every solar rooftop to consider about modular parallel dc input or at least add modular RSD devices on your rooftop and not "Let it burn!" even after firefighter arrive before your house!
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svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Doesn't seem that bad in the states, thankyou NEC.

Solar-Fires.png
ref
Of those 155 fires, roughly 33% occurred in California, Arizona and Nevada, states which are among the highest when it comes to wildfire hazard potential.

... regular infrared (IR) imaging of residential projects could cut instances of fire down immensely. Regular IR testing can identify hotspots on a system that could lead to thermal events down the line.

See also Using FLIR to find microfractures and other solar problems

Don't get too comfy with the zeroes for the last few years, fires started by solar go into the "other" category, so iffy at best.

For example, some of the Tesla/Walmart fires occurred in 2019:
 

mrzed001

Voice of reason
It's time to speak out loudly most existing solar installations are not safe enough!

Google "Solar fire, dc arc fault", you'll find out why series connection by string inverter without modular rapid shutdown(RSD) on DC side is a high risk during the operation time(over 20 years usually)on your solar rooftop.

We strongly recommend every solar rooftop to consider about modular parallel dc input or at least add modular RSD devices on your rooftop and not "Let it burn!" even after firefighter arrive before your house!
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For parallel connect solar panel strings a fuse (per string) is always recommended.
But it does not protect against arching. Only protects against short circuit's consequences. So other strings produced power do not flow to the SC and create an even bigger arch.

SolarEdge systems have protection against it (a box for every solar panel). If any error DC lines go to 1V. This is the best protection.
I did not check but possible Tigo optimizers will protect too.
Also I think Huawei has something like it too.
Also microinverters (but they do not have long series strings, so not a solution for this type of problems).

Here it is also mandatory to have a Santon Firefighter Safety Switch when your solar panels are more than 5m away from your inverter.
https://santonswitchgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/1923-DFS-folder-ENG-LR.pdf
 
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Bluedog225

Solar Enthusiast
I appreciate you bringing up the topic. I’ve been going in circles working out how to get a micro-inverter set-up for off grid. Do-able but jeeze. Or do-able but $$$.

I can’t see a bunch of dc lines over the roof for 20-30 years not having an issue. And in real life, an IR inspection is not going to happen. Reliable module level protection either through a micro-inverter or otherwise seems like the best course.
 
Doesn't seem that bad in the states, thankyou NEC.

Solar-Fires.png
ref




See also Using FLIR to find microfractures and other solar problems

Don't get too comfy with the zeroes for the last few years, fires started by solar go into the "other" category, so iffy at best.

For example, some of the Tesla/Walmart fires occurred in 2019:
Many such accidents will not disclose it, only cover it up
 

svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Many such accidents will not disclose it, only cover it up

In the U.S. stuff like that isn't covered up, we look for someone or thing to blame. It's sort of like airplane crashes, they have to be investigated. It's not just to determine if it's arson, it's so that they don't happen again. Much of the NEC rules are to ensure past failures aren't repeated.

According to NFPA, from 2014 to 2018 there were 353,100 home structure fires per year resulting in 2,620 deaths; 11,030 injuries; and $7.2 billion in direct property damage. The number one cause was cooking.

I suspect what you're hearing is like the EV fires. There's a rough estimate of ~171,500 highway vehicle fires per year in the U.S. It's so many they're barely newsworthy. But the first time an EV catches fire, it's national news. In a way that's good, it helps ensure local fire departments learn about how to combat new types of fires.

In the case of the Tesla Solar fires, the lawsuit against Tesla claimed that the problem was defective and dangerous amphenol H4 Connectors.
Not to malign Tesla, they get the blame because they had just bought solar city, it actually went (ref):
The lawsuit assigned particular blame to SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016, for alleged “chaotic installation practices” amid a rushed installation schedule, and for lacking “adequate quality-control checks or supervision protocols.”

Most likely they were either undersized or cheap H4 connectors that were not certified by a lab (e.g., U.L., CE) combined with inexperienced building inspectors. It's why so many people on the forums say to beware cheap components that don't have certifications.
 

wattmatters

Solar Addict
A link to a reputable reference for the statistics on solar PV related fires in Australia should be provided, not some random image with no reference. Because as we know, 83.7% of all stats are made up.

It's most likely a result of the idiotic requirement in Australia to have rooftop DC isolators. These are the items which invariably fail and are responsible for a majority of the solar PV system fires. It's more common for older systems installed before changes to the requirements were made to provide better quality water ingress and environmental protection for isolators. Still we really should ditch that requirement (it's being considered for the next update of the relevant Australian standards for rooftop solar). Next on the list would be inverter failure.

The most recent research into this is this was by Renew.

This is the full 90 page report. It's now a little dated as this industry has grown rapidly. But there does not seem to be any increase in the relative fire risk of rooftop solar PV in Australia.
 
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