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PV fire hazard - analysis and assessment of fire incidents

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


Mine, A. ; European Commission:
28th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, EU PVSEC 2013. Proceedings. DVD-ROM : 30 September to 04 October 2013, Paris, France
München: WIP-Renewable Energies, 2013
ISBN: 3-936338-33-7
European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) <28, 2013, Paris>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Elektrische Energiesysteme; Photovoltaische Module und Kraftwerke; Systemintegration und Netze - Strom; Wärme; Gas; Energieeffiziente Leistungselektronik; Modulprüfung; Photovoltaische Kraftwerke; Elektrische Verteilnetze und Betriebsmittel; Netzgekoppelte Wechselrichter und Speichersysteme

This paper addresses an investigation of heat damages and fires of PV systems. Information on damage cases was collected by an online-questionnaire, online research, literature research, by questioning technical experts and from an insurance company´s files. Some 180 cases of fire and heat damage were found, where PV systems caused fires affecting the PV system or its surroundings. A statistical analysis or these cases is given. Main reasons for fires were component failures and installation errors. Especially in larger systems improper handling of aluminum cables caused several fires. DC-switches were found to be critical and therefore laboratory testing was conducted. This testing of aged DC switches found increased resistance and potential thermal damage. Operating the switches several times reduced the resistance markedly. Inspection of older PV systems showed that bypass-diodes are reliable and pose a low risk for reverse currents into strings. Recommendations to further improve system safety are given.