If you own solar panels on your home, you may want to keep an eye on them in hot weather. In Holland, some caught fire and caused “enormous” damage to three apartment units.
297.nl here reports how solar panels on a new apartment building caught fire and destroyed three of the units last Thursday afternoon, after they had apparently overheated.
According to 297.nl, Ffre fighters were called in Vinkeveen after smoke had been detected at a roof. The solar panels “were probably overloaded” by the heat and so “caught fire”. Fortunately nobody was injured, yet the damage was “enormous”.
Yesterday I wrote here about how toxic cadmium leaching at landfills from old discarded solar panels could pose a serious environmental threat.
One reader also mentioned that fumes from cadmium containing materials could be a hazard, especially when undergoing intense heat treatments such as welding.
Could fumes from intense fires involving solar panels also pose a risk, especially for fire fighters such as those in Vinkeveen last Thursday? Granted the heat from welding is much higher than that we’d see in a regular fire. The answer appears to be yes. Nick Gromicko at Internachi.org here wrote:
Solar panels and batteries contain toxic chemicals that may be released in a fire and are dangerous if inhaled.”
Toxic stew gets carried off like storm water
What I found a bit peculiar, though no fault of the firefighters, is how the contaminated water that extinguished the flames simply ran down into the rain gutters. The potentially toxic stew then just apparently gets carried off into the storm water runoff system and dumped into the environment.
“Stormwater runoff is the fastest growing source of pollution to our local waterways,” says the Deleware Department of Transportation here.