Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems

Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems Course Examines Hazards Associated with Fighting Fires Involving Solar Energy

Fire Safety
December 17, 2020

Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems

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. UL's Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems" online course has been revised to include updated research findings and safety considerations for firefighters.

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.
  • 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 Steve Kerber, Vice President of Research, UL FSRI.

This project was supported by a Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

Click here to access the course available through the UL FSRI Fire Safety Academy


Resource 1: FSRI Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems project page