Solar panels can endanger firefighters' lives, CBC News reports
An Ontario fire chief says that solar panels can hinder his crews' ability to cut a vent in a roof when fighting a fire, posing the risk of electrocution.
October 30, 2013 by Brynna Leslie
Ontario firefighters are speaking out against solar panels, saying this new building trend in the province is making it more difficult to fight fires.
“Many of the newer homes are constructed with light-weight construction materials,” Kingsville fire chief Bob Kissner told CBC News. “They’re extremely strong but they don’t behave well in fire conditions. If we have solar panels, it adds weight to the roof. The most important thing is to make sure the structure is able to handle the weight.”
Kissner and others have noted that solar panels can affect firefighters’ abilities to cut a vent in the roof in a fire situation and pose risk of electrocution.
Solar panels have become quite popular in Ontario, especially in rural areas and new suburbs, since the province introduced its feed-in tariff program in 2006. The program allows homeowners to collect energy from alternative sources, such as solar and wind, and feed excess energy back into the grid for a financial credit.