Testing a method for de-energizing solar panels for firefighting

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Solar power installations present potential electrical hazards during firefighting operations. Even if a building is disconnected from the electrical grid during an emergency, live high DC voltage electrical lines may still be present between the panels and the inverter due to solar irradiance. While newer installations may feature disconnects, they may be located in difficult to access areas (e.g., on the roof). One strategy for eliminating potential electrical hazards is by blocking the panel's solar access using a tarp. However, this process poses a safety hazard. An alternate procedure was developed to test the ability of a common foam agent (fluoro-protein Foam) to de-energize a 2.8 kW solar array under sunny conditions. This agent is carried by almost all firefighting trucks and tankers and can be sprayed through a hose, eliminating the need for firefighters to access the roof of a burning building. The agent can be washed off using water, returning the panels to an operable state. During testing, the voltage and current on both the AC and DC sides of the inverter was recorded to evaluate the effect of the foam on the power output of the array. While the foam did create a dramatic reduction in power, it appears that the reduction was insufficient to eliminate the electrical hazard in the DC lines. Ongoing efforts include testing of the optical properties of the foam to determine whether possible improvements could be made, and testing of other foam agents and foaming strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy
PublisherAmerican Solar Energy Society
Pages278-282
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781510801790
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jul 6 2014Jul 10 2014

Publication series

Name43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy
Volume1

Other

Other43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period7/6/147/10/14

Fingerprint

Foams
Hazards
Testing
Roofs
Tank trucks
Hose
Electric potential
Solar energy
Trucks
Optical properties
Proteins
Water

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

Cite this

Starling, D., Ranalli, J., Dudeck, K., & Steber, R. (2014). Testing a method for de-energizing solar panels for firefighting. In 43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy (pp. 278-282). (43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy; Vol. 1). American Solar Energy Society.
Starling, David ; Ranalli, Joseph ; Dudeck, Kenneth ; Steber, Ron. / Testing a method for de-energizing solar panels for firefighting. 43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy. American Solar Energy Society, 2014. pp. 278-282 (43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy).
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abstract = "Solar power installations present potential electrical hazards during firefighting operations. Even if a building is disconnected from the electrical grid during an emergency, live high DC voltage electrical lines may still be present between the panels and the inverter due to solar irradiance. While newer installations may feature disconnects, they may be located in difficult to access areas (e.g., on the roof). One strategy for eliminating potential electrical hazards is by blocking the panel's solar access using a tarp. However, this process poses a safety hazard. An alternate procedure was developed to test the ability of a common foam agent (fluoro-protein Foam) to de-energize a 2.8 kW solar array under sunny conditions. This agent is carried by almost all firefighting trucks and tankers and can be sprayed through a hose, eliminating the need for firefighters to access the roof of a burning building. The agent can be washed off using water, returning the panels to an operable state. During testing, the voltage and current on both the AC and DC sides of the inverter was recorded to evaluate the effect of the foam on the power output of the array. While the foam did create a dramatic reduction in power, it appears that the reduction was insufficient to eliminate the electrical hazard in the DC lines. Ongoing efforts include testing of the optical properties of the foam to determine whether possible improvements could be made, and testing of other foam agents and foaming strategies.",
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Starling, D, Ranalli, J, Dudeck, K & Steber, R 2014, Testing a method for de-energizing solar panels for firefighting. in 43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy. 43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy, vol. 1, American Solar Energy Society, pp. 278-282, 43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy, San Francisco, United States, 7/6/14.

Testing a method for de-energizing solar panels for firefighting. / Starling, David; Ranalli, Joseph; Dudeck, Kenneth; Steber, Ron.

43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy. American Solar Energy Society, 2014. p. 278-282 (43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy; Vol. 1).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Starling D, Ranalli J, Dudeck K, Steber R. Testing a method for de-energizing solar panels for firefighting. In 43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy. American Solar Energy Society. 2014. p. 278-282. (43rd ASES National Solar Conference 2014, SOLAR 2014, Including the 39th National Passive Solar Conference and the 2nd Meeting of Young and Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy).