New Solar Panel Sensor Addresses Fire Risk

“There was a fire on a building in Munich which had solar panels and the Munich Fire Department let it burn to the ground,” rather than risk injury to its fire fighters, said Henson.

Realizing that this could potentially become a recurrent problem in a geographic area that is  reliant on solar power, the fire department approached TOPinno and asked for its help finding a way that the solar panels could be disabled in cases of fire.

The result was a small sensor, or fuse, that is placed between the panels and monitors the heat of the photovoltaic unit while subbing as a manual shut-off switch for emergency situations.

“The moment the fuses are broken due to the heat, the voltage will go down to below 120V, which is the legal requirement to be able to use water to extinguish the flames,” says TOPinno GMBH’s  General Manager, Raymond Huwaë. But first responders needing to access the roof because of a fire inside the building (such as in Delanco, New Jersey or Munich, Germany) would also have the option of disengaging the fuse manually.

“Currently we are negotiating with the UL Laboratories in Illinois USA, to have the fuse UL certified,” said Huwaë.

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