Michigan Solar Solutions (MSS) recently participated in the Solar Panels Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Emergency Operations, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was sponsored by Grand Valley State University, Consumers Energy and the Allendale Fire Department. This joint effort has taken place for the last 3 years because of the rapid increase in solar installations in Grand Rapids neighborhoods and large scale solar farms.
Below are some key take-aways for the attendees:
- Consumers Energy stated that emergency responders should notify the electric company to turn off electricity. DO NOT “pull” the electric meter, due to the potential for arcing.
- Even if the electricity has been turned off by the electric company and the solar system has been turned off, assume there is still high voltage present.
- NEVER chop through electric lines even if you think the power is off.
- Wear proper equipment including: Turnout coat/pants, dry leather gloves, rubber boots, SCBA, hood & helmet.
- Use a misted spray from the fire hose rather than a direct water flow.
- Become familiar with the NEC required identification stickers which mark a solar installation.
- Stand 20+ feet away from any live electrical equipment.
- If necessary, use a salvage cover on an array to reduce power production.
If your home or business has solar panels on the roof and there is a fire, notify emergency responders that you have a solar array. Be prepared to tell them where the AC disconnect and solar panels are located. Do not attempt to extinguish a fire if it is on or close to your array.
Michigan Solar Solutions has a fully operational solar array at our office in Riverdale Michigan. We are happy to hold educational seminars for first responders and can host approximately 20 people at a time in our training center. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: (989) 833.5333 to discuss your solar training needs.
Written by Brennan Rodriguez, March 2018
Brennan is a solar professional with Michigan Solar Solutions in Grand Rapids, MI