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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
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.