Earlier this month, a refrigeration warehouse in USA burned to the ground because fire crews were unable to determine how to disconnect the 7,000 solar panels that covered the manufacturer’s 300,000 square-foot roof – there was no clear shut off switch or mechanism that would have ensured that firefighters would have been able to access the roof safely.
Firefighters battled the fire from a distance using water and foam in an attempt to retard the flames, since they were unable to climb to the roof while the panels were activated by the hot sun. By the time the sun had set, however, the building was beyond recovery.
Forums have been abuzz with speculation about how this scenario should really have played out. Several solar installers have argued that the panels can be shut off (although there appears to be no consistent answer as to how). But, of the hundreds of comments left on major media websites, none has presented a reassuring textbook answer as to how thousands of active solar panels that aren’t connected to a breaker switch can be switched off quickly and the roof accessed with water hoses.
May the most knowledgeable engineer please step forward …
Read the complete article published by Triple Pundit, 26 September 2013