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PV systems - a fire hazard? - Myths and facts from German experiences

: Laukamp, H.; Bopp, G.; Grab, R.; Häberlin, H.; Heeckeren, B. van; Phillip, S.; Reil, F.; Schmidt, H.; Sepanski, A.; Thiem, H.; Vaassen, W.


Nowak, S. ; European Commission:
27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, EU PVSEC 2012. DVD-ROM : Proceedings of the international conference held in Frankfurt, Germany, 24 - 28 September 2012
München: WIP-Renewable Energies, 2012
ISBN: 3-936338-28-0
European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) <27, 2012, Frankfurt>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Elektrische Energiesysteme; Photovoltaische Module und Kraftwerke; Systemintegration und Netze – Strom; Wärme; Gas; Photovoltaische Kraftwerke; Elektrische Verteilnetze und Betriebsmittel; Safety; and Testing; Prevention; Hazard; Standard

After a few fire incidents in 2009 and 2010, where buildings with PV systems were involved, were extensively covered by media, a project had been initiated to address all issues of “PV on fire”. Investigations range from analysis of material used in PV modules over production processes over fault analysis and installation guidelines to system documentation for fire fighters and fire fighting procedures. This paper addresses an investigation of some reported fire incidents with PV systems as well as an online-query hazardous incidents and heat damages and fires of PV systems. It was found that media reports on incidents sometimes drastically misrepresented what actually happened. Heat damages were mainly reported from within modules and from module connections. Surprisingly often DC-switches and AC installations of PV systems were identified as cause of fires.