Firefighters Worried About Danger From Bad Weather Preventing Solar Panels

They might just have to let buildings with “alternative energy” burn

(Fox News) Firefighters across the nation are alarmed at the prospect of battling blazes in buildings topped with solar panels, which can create new risks of roofs collapsing, an inability to gain footing and even potential electric shock.

Two recent fires involving structures decked with solar panels have triggered complaints from fire chiefs and calls for new codes and regulations that reflect the dangers posed by the clean-energy devices. A two-alarm fire last week at a home in Piedmont, Calif., prompted Piedmont Fire Chief Warren McLaren to say the technology “absolutely” made it harder on firefighters. Weeks earlier, in Delanco, N.J., more than 7,000 solar panels on the roof of a massive 300,000-square foot warehouse factored into Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt’s refusal to send his firefighters onto the roof of a Dietz & Watson facility.

“We may very well not be able to save buildings that have alternative energy,” New Jersey’s Acting Fire Marshall William Kramer told The Star-Ledger.

One of the problems is that even after the power is shut off, the panels still send energy down, creating a shock and burn hazard. Another is that they limit the area firefighters need to operate, creating a situation where they can slip or trip.

What’s the solution? If companies want to put them on their roofs, in all sincerity, good for them. I’ve always advocated that solar is better for small scale use, rather than the massive solar farms taking up huge swaths of land. But, if they make it more dangerous for firefighters, what is to be done?

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2 Responses to “Firefighters Worried About Danger From Bad Weather Preventing Solar Panels”

  1. Ignore_My_Gumballs says:

    Dont understand the problem. With the government completely shut down, there isn’t any power generated anywhere.

    Also, with the government completely shut down, there won’t be any fires or firemen anyway.

  2. Trish Mac says:

    I believe I mentioned before that the Dietz & Watson plant that caught fire on Labor Day weekend, was not approachable until this past week due to powered up solar panels making it unsafe to enter the building at all, let alone get to the roof. The local residents complained several days aafter the fire, that the rotting meats and cheeses in that place were making the smell unbearable! And the firemen refused to allow access due to the danger.
    They only just reported that the removal of the meats is happening now.

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