• April 17, 2024
  • Category

The simple answer to this is YES! Under some conditions, it can cause fires. However, it is not a bad thing which you take to restrict yourself to go Solar. All the measures are controllable to avoid fire hazards on the Solar panels. 

Most of the incidence of Solar panel fires has also been seen on news website

Let’s understand the major risk factors which cause fires at the Solar parks:

  • An error in system design
  • A faulty product (a design or product quality issue)
  • Poor installation practice

There Are Major Three Issues With Dc Isolators:

  • Poorly designed or constructed products

Components originally designed for AC are unlikely to be reliable over the life of a PV system. 

  • Incorrectly specified DC isolators 

Isolators that are underrated for the current or voltage of the PV strings connected, for example.

  • Poor installation practice

Poor installation typically caused water ingress into the casing of the DC isolator causing arcing. This category accounts for the majority of DC isolator failures.

‘DC isolators are present at greater fire risk’

About 30% of the incidents recorded in the survey were caused by malfunctioning DC disconnect switches. Many of the incidents in question involved water intrusion into DC disconnect switches, all with cable glands facing up. The studies also found that DC disconnectors with "poor contact design" (i.e. originally designed for AC operation and rated DC by the manufacturer) and with improper internal wiring concluded that there was evidence of a fire starting.

What is the work of DC connectors?

DC connectors, are the second most common PV component causing fires. A DC circuit connects the PV modules together and raises the voltage similar to connecting batteries in series. A parallel string of PV modules increases the current. The DC circuit is returned to the inverter, possibly through a DC isolator.

Metal contacts in DC connectors tend to stay connected due to frictional forces even after the supporting plastic body has burned out. Therefore, arc-exposed DC connectors should be suspected as a possible source of ignition.

What is the work of DC connectors

A real-time image showing the meltdown of a DC connector.

The Other Component Which Is At Higher Risk Of Causing A Fire Is An Inverter.

Let’s know how they cause a fire.

Many fires start in inverters, which form the most complex part of PV arrays and manage the current flowing through them. Despite having sensors and other safety features, solar fires caused by inverters have been recorded.

The study also highlighted how the use of "faulty inverters" led to solar-related fires. There were reports that firefighters were called to extinguish the fire. In the accident, several inverters caught fire and it took him an hour and a half to put the fire out.

On the other hand, an article posted on the Solar Power World website states that "electrical abuse" can put a battery into thermal runaway [meaning a situation where the amount of heat generated within the battery is It emphasizes that it is one of the three major abuse drivers. amount of heat released to the environment]. The article adds, "Electrical abuse occurs during overcharging, overcharging, or a short circuit from the inverter." According to solar system dealer Solarity, the inverter is flammable due to its polymer content. Solarity also stresses that photovoltaic systems can emit liquids, solids, or smoke during and after a solar fire, and firefighters responding to the incident called "lead (c-Si ) or cadmium and Selenium”.

A way towards reducing fire risks on Solar PV power plants.

Even with the implementation of quality assurance measures for photovoltaic power generation systems, it is difficult to completely eliminate the risk of fire.

A TÜV Rheinland study came to the conclusion that "despite quality assurance measures, he cannot rule out overheating or arcing 100%".

Recommendations made by TÜV Rheinland study suggest the following steps:

There Are Major Three Issues With Dc Isolators:

  • Third-party testing of a PV plant has to be frequent and consistent.
  • Introduce additional safety components wherever possible. 
  • Standardize quality assurance
  • Involve analytics wherever possible to identify aged components and their replacement cycle.

Arc flash detectors can also reduce risk, the report added. However, it is also important that the arc detector remains fully functional for a very long period of time. 

If possible, it is important that the PV system continues to function throughout its service life without causing any failures in the system. 

The report further states: "safeguard measures such as integrated self-tests, could come in handy." TÜV Rheinland.

In addition, arcs in modules produce different noise patterns than arcs in serial terminals. Different cable lengths have very different attenuation of the arc sine.”

Inverters, switching transients, or coupled radios Interference from the signal can mask or superimpose noise from the arc. 

Only a very robust detection algorithm, tested on various systems, can provide real added value here. Solar Park operators may also consider addressing fire risk issues, such as installing fire protection systems.

Conclusively

The risk of fires in solar power plants may be underestimated due to poor reporting and a lack of available data. However, many studies show that sunburns have increased at solar arrays tripled in three years, while Australian data showed that between 2018 and 2020 We found a 6-fold increase during that time.

Action by the solar industry, especially on the issue of fire risk, is therefore urgently needed in light of data showing that global installed PV capacity increased by about a quarter in 2021. Research shows that there are three main causes of solar fires. These are – flaws in system design, defective items (design or quality issues); or improper installation methods.

The most fire-hazardous photovoltaic component is the DC disconnector, which causes about one-third of solar fires. However, DC connectors and inverters can also pose a serious fire risk. 

While it's difficult to completely eliminate the risk of fire on your solar farm, there are some important steps you can take to minimize the risk.

These measures include regular inspections of solar systems by independent third parties and the installation of additional safety components.

With the number of PV installations increasing dramatically worldwide, these steps are essential to reduce the risk of fire.

Connect with WAAREE RTL for a safer transition to Clean Energy using solar power.

How Waaree RTL can help?

WAAREE RTL (WRTL) is Waaree Energies’ EPC arm which is also a listed company in India. It has an experience of more than 600MWp of Solar power plant installations across several countries including projects like ‘50MW in 100 Days – Vietnam’ while embarking on a successful competence in Ground mounted, Rooftop, and Floating Solar power projects. WRTL has helped numerous clients with their transition to clean energy and helped reduce their carbon footprint with SOLAR POWER. Step on to your cleaner journey by contacting us at 18002121321 or mail us at waaree@waaree.com

 

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