• Press Release

December 17, 2020

UL FSRI Firefighter Safety Training Course on Photovoltaic Systems Now Available

Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems

Online training addresses safety considerations related to fighting fires involving solar energy

December 17, 2020 —The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) released an update to its Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems online course to include updated research findings and safety considerations for firefighters.

Solar power has become a fast-growing energy source. Over the past couple decades, the number of new photovoltaic (PV) systems installations has increased sharply worldwide. As more PV systems are installed, the likelihood increases that fires will occur on buildings with PV systems, making it critical for firefighters to receive evidence-based training. Traditional firefighter tactics for suppression, ventilation, and overhaul are complicated by PV systems, leaving firefighters vulnerable to severe hazards.

After taking this course, firefighters will be able to:

  • Describe the basic principles of solar energy and electricity and some common strategies to avoid electrical shock.
  • Describe the factors that cause and contribute to fireground injuries and fatalities during incidents involving photovoltaic systems. 
  • Summarize the results of experiments conducted testing photovoltaic modules during normal fireground operations.
  • Incorporate tactical considerations based on experimental results into standard operating procedures and guidelines to improve firefighter safety.  

“This updated course provides the fire service with the basics that they need to know to safely operate around PV systems and important safety considerations on topics such as water application, limitations of PPE, isolating the power, covering the panels and the hazards of damaging panels or system components with tools,” said Stephen Kerber, UL FSRI vice president of research.

The “Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems” project was funded by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighter Grant - Fire Prevention and Safety Grants program.

Click here to access the course via the UL FSRI Fire Safety Academy.


About UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) advances fire research knowledge and develops cutting edge, practical fire service education aimed at helping firefighters stay safe while more effectively protecting people and property. Guided by a global advisory board comprised of fire service personnel, UL FSRI investigates residential, commercial, and industrial fires through full-scale testing, field-testing, and modeling to replicate actual fires faced by firefighters. Research results are shared through interactive training courses that have reached hundreds of thousands of firefighters globally. To learn more, visit ULFirefighterSafety.org. Follow UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the UL public safety mission through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. We conduct rigorous independent research and analyze safety data, convene experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide safe commercialization of evolving technologies. We foster communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods to summits of world leaders. Our organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security, and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. To learn more, visit UL.org