Now residents claim that this fire was caused by recently fitted solar panels although that is still to be proven. However, there are three serious issues here. One is that these installations are live all the time so fire fighters will not enter buildings where it is not possible to isolate the electrics. Very relevant in commercial properties. In fact fire brigades are working on developing light proof sheets that can be placed over panels to cut the power. Second is that the electrical installation sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. My local plumber told me of an occasion recently when one of his staff went up into a roof space to attend to the header tank only to return to say that the PV Panels had been installed in such an unprofessional way that it would be dangerous to work up there until they had been isolated. Now installers are supposed to be approved and a DIY installation cannot be certificated to receive FITs. Therefore the installation had been fitted by an approved installer. Do you know who is working on your roof? In this cases trusses had been cut through to facilitate the installation making the whole roof unstable. Every industry has it’s cowboys and PV is no exception. Anecdotal evidence suggest that this is a far from isolated case. Thirdly a word of caution. This is a material change to your property and as such must be notified to your insurance. Should you suffer the disaster that this family has, if you have not advised your insurance company and it turns out the fire is related to the panels you may well find you are not insured. If you suffer wind and water damage to the roof, the assessor will look very carefully to see if the panels are a contributry factor. Even if not related some insurance companies may refuse to pay out. Nowadays they do look closely at the fine print.
PV panels in themselves are a great idea. If not subsidised, they would rarely make economic sense. The saving would simply take too long to repay. Remember we use the most electricity in the evening when it is dark. So your bill won’t disappear although it will be reduced. However selling the spare electricity to your energy supplier, whilst great in theory, is now causing the Grid major problems. In some countries they are now refusing to use it, which runs a coach and horses through the financial benefits. Another issue is for those that have signed up for free PV panels. You have actually leased your roof to an outside company so if you want to sell your house you may encounter a real legal nightmare. So what I am saying is, by all means, invest in PV panels. But only if you can afford it and do so with your eyes wide open, not flattered by the shiny suited salesman’s pitch. Remember that in one sale he will probably make more money than you will over the foreseeable future! But properly researched and properly planned a mixture of PV and solar thermal panels, especially in a new build, may be a good idea. But just remember you will be swimming in shark infested waters and a recommendation from someone who has had them fitted for a couple of years is advisable. Don’t ask someone whose just had them fitted. They spent a lot of cash and will still be enthusiastic. Choose someone for whom the honeymoon period is over! Just take care as this pitfall (click the link) is just another in a long line.
650,000 solar panels declared fire risk Click for info.
Although Insurance Companies are paying for those in such as Schools to be repaired, for the private individual you are on your own. 15 fires across Europe have been credited with being cause by these faulty modules.
Perhaps the roof is not the best place to fix these! See below!
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