Posted on 09/02/2022 in Electric & Electronic Building & Construction Fire Safety 2021
Eric Guillaume, Efectis

Eric Guillaume, Efectis, outlined specific fire risks of photovoltaic systems in buildings. The PV system itself can cause fires, through electrical faults, because of DC arcing, power mismatches with partial lighting, electrical faults in e.g. DC-AC inverters, or the PV system can be ignited by fires starting elsewhere. The air gap behind BAPV (Building Attached) panels can accelerate fire (chimney effect). PV systems are often on roofs, where risk of fire spread may be reduced, but are also increasingly integrated into building facades.
Fire safety standards exist for PV, with different standards for BAPV and BIPV (Building Integrated) panels, with standards for both for modules and for systems, IEC sets standards, but this is voluntary for manufacturers, not obligatory. PV panels are generally also covered by local building regulations, including for fire safety. A priority should be fire performance requirements integrating both the PV system and the adjacent materials (roof or façade).

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