There has been a lot of speculation surrounding just how safe solar power is. Some safety fears have been generated by utility companies who feel threatened by the solar power industry. These utility companies want to discourage the installation of solar systems in order to keep their customers. However, these companies are not the only ones to blame for worries about solar power. It is true that a couple of houses with solar panels have caught on fire. Which leads to the questions, just how safe is it to install solar panels? Can they cause fires?
Solar Power Source
The electricity that your solar panels provide is no different than the electricity your utility company provides. Solar panels collect the sunlight during the day and convert it into DC (direct current) electricity. The electricity goes to an inverter and then is converted to AC (alternating current) electricity AC electricity is sent to your home’s electrical system.
Solar Energy Is Like An Appliance
Electrical surges are not uncommon in homes. When you are dealing with any electrical appliance, you always have to worry about the risk of fire. There can be a surge with anything electrical, which can cause a fire. Solar panels are considered electrical. Yes, they harness energy from the sun, but they are also providing electricity to power your home. When you add solar panels to your home, you are essentially adding an electrical appliance to your home.
Solar Power Is Not Toxic
Now let’s talk about just how safe solar power is. Solar panels are primarily made of silicon, so you will never have to worry about toxins or fumes leaking into your home.
Can They Cause Fires?
Solar panel fires usually occur when there are electrical problems. Just like with a toaster oven, or table lamp, improper wiring or poor quality products can result in a fire. The wiring can short and create sparks that cause the fire. The most common problem area with solar power is the system’s combiner box, where wires from the panels connect to the inverter.
So yes, solar panels can cause a fire, but it is very rare. Solar panels have to meet international inspection and testing standards before they are allowed on the market. As long as you get your solar panels properly installed by a professional, they will be safe.
To protect your home or business from a solar power electrical surge, you might have to install a whole-house surge protector. These protectors are installed in your electrical box. They detect voltage spikes and divert excess current through a grounding path. Some states mandate these surge protectors, especially states that experience a lot of lightning strikes. Also rooftop solar power systems must have a “rapid shutdown mechanism,” which is triggered when AC current is no longer flowing to inverters. These will prevent harm or injury to first responders.
Your house or business will be protected as long as you:
- Use quality components, and not cheap equipment.
- Use an experienced and professional installer.
- Protect inverters. These should be accessible, protected from the weather, and kept away from combustibles.
- Route cables properly.
- Inspect on a regular basis, generally once or twice a year.
- Install a rooftop shutoff switch.
In order to protect your home or business from a power surge that could lead to a fire (although very rare), make sure you use a professional company with experienced installers. Because there are a lot of different components that go into installing solar panels, as well as different brands to choose from, it is important that the company you choose knows their stuff.
Go Solar Energy will make sure you get the best. We will provide you with an agent that will make sure you get the best solar panels at the best price. We will make sure your home is inspected first, and meets qualifications before recommending solar panel installation. You will never have to worry about a fire, malfunction, or any other damage from solar power. Get your free quotes now by entering your zip code on the homepage, or to speak directly to one of our agents call (888) 290-3112. Save hundreds on solar panel installation and on your electric bill!