FoxNews covers the risk to Fire Fighters when Solar Panels are on a roof. There are efforts to address this problem.
A 2010 report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation found that slipping or tripping on solar panels were potential hazards for firefighters, as well as the possibility of the roof collapse due to the weight of the panels, which are generally made of crystalline silicon or thin-film semiconductor material. The maximum voltage of most systems, meanwhile, is roughly 600 volts, which can cause shock or burns.
“The industry has to continue to work with the fire service community, both on education and updating building codes to meet firefighters’ needs,” Smirnow continued. “That’s really where I think we can make the most progress.”
Even after all these efforts it will most likely be riskier to fight a fire with solar panels on the roof which slows down the fighting of a fire. This can increase the damage from a fire which then could trigger higher insurance rates.
We are at the beginning of solar panels on roofs and electric cars. As much as these are better for the environment, when there is fire it is harder to put out the flames.
Besides the insurance issues there is a public perception issue. GigaOm's Katie Fehrenbacher covers the Tesla's exposure with its care fire.
Will customers be worried about Model S cars catching on fire after collisions? And will that effect sales at all? An investigation in a couple of fires during safety testing with Chevy’s Volt back in 2011, seem to contribute to a considerable freeze in Volt sales for awhile. Fires certainly weren’t great publicity for Fisker’s electric cars back when those were on sale.
Large companies with diverse product lines can weather branding and publicity issues more easily than startups that have one product on the market. If that one product turns sour, there’s nothing else out there to prop up the brand.
But this fire issue could end up being another hurdle Tesla jumps over. Cars get in accidents, and bad things happen in accidents. But the company will likely have to work on its own PR campaign to be transparent but also soothe any worried customers. And the good news is that Tesla has always been particularly adept at PR and marketing, so expect some type of reaction, and soon.