Posted on 09/02/2022 in Electric & Electronic Building & Construction Fire Safety 2021
Yoon Ko, National Research Council Canada

Yoon Ko, National Research Council Canada, further outlined specific fire challenges related to PV installations in buildings. PV systems can ignite because of electrical faults, moisture ingress leading to short-circuits or overheating. Back-sheet and encapsulation materials are flammable. Fire can then spread from the PV insulation, via cables, or in facades through claddings or window frames. Toxic smoke can spread through façade voids or windows. Fire and safety testing of PV systems needs to include smoke emission and toxicity, testing of panels when electrically active in sunlight, and to cover fire fighting tactics and electrical risks for firefighters.
In discussions, it was suggested that although PV is generally safe, fire is a significant and specific risk, which becomes more important as PV becomes ubiquitous. Testing tools are available, but new fire safety standards are needed for PV systems, including covering integration into existing buildings, and in particular in facades. Regulators should be better informed of this challenge.

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