Compiled by an international research group, the best practices were gathered from all available guidelines published by national agencies, regulatory bodies and professional associations.

Researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia has defined a series of fire safety practices that solar installers should follow when deploying residential rooftop PV systems.

“Improper installation practices have been identified as a common factor contributing to PV fire risks,” the corresponding author of the research, Mohd Zahirasri Mohd Tohir, Recount photo magazine. “This human error can be due to an inadvertent action or a deliberate violation of procedure. The first, mainly due to inexperienced installers or simply slippery actions of experienced workers. While the latter, due to time pressure and their lack of knowledge of the consequences of fire safety. Whatever the reason, both can be attributed to a lack of fire safety knowledge.

According to Tohir, the annual fire frequency for photovoltaic installations is 0.029 fires per MW. “Although the figure does not seem alarming, however, with the increase in global demand for photovoltaic systems as a green technology, if the problem is neglected and not controlled, the failure rate is expected to increase significantly in the years to come. come,” he said. . “This is why our work is seen as important in developing safe practices and sharing knowledge about managing fire safety when installing a PV system, as a lack of understanding of fire hazards Associated PV can lead to serious long-term consequences.”

Academics Systematically reviewed fire safety practices outlined in 40 publicly available PV installation guidelines. These include PV manufacturers’ publications and installation guidelines, as well as best practice manuals. “It is worth mentioning that more than half of the selected installation guidelines examined come from national agencies, regulatory bodies and national associations and come mainly from the United States,” the research team said.

The proposed fire safety practices have been categorized into 10 groups considering different factors: general practices to ensure that the PV system is designed only by qualified contractors; site survey, including size, shade management, driveway, slope, orientation and location; roof structure and material; marking systems for all PV equipment including PV input and output, conduit, wiring, inverter, boxes, combiner, box and disconnect switches; roof waterproofing and flashing; electrical wiring and grounding system; assembly of bays, ventilation and photovoltaic panels; combiner box and connectors; DC/AC inverter; and DC isolator and other protective devices.

“Before installing the PV system, it is important to carry out a site assessment to avoid the shading effect and determine the best orientation for maximum output from the PV system,” the scientists said. “In addition, good ventilation and air circulation around PV modules can prevent the hot spot phenomenon.” According to them, many fire accidents originated from DC isolators due to water ingress into the enclosure caused by ignorant practices during installation. “However, the number of posts highlighting the installation of DC isolators, such as do’s and don’ts, is relatively low,” they also pointed out.

Best practices have been presented in the document Development of fire safety best practices for the installation of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems on rooftops using a systematic review methodology, Posted in Sustainable cities and society.

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