Photovoltaics (PV) Systems

Photovoltaics (PV) convert light into electricity – typically via solar panels that are mounted on roofs or walls. Increasingly, businesses, utility companies and individuals are also getting their power from solar farms or solar ranches. While there are efficiency and “green” benefits associated with PV systems, these alternative energy systems also pose risks to buildings, occupants and first responders.  

Photovoltaics are addressed in the following NFPA codes and standards:
Research Foundation reports & proceedings

NFPA Journal articles

  • Cost + Compliance: How the 2017 NEC can impact safety and pocketbooks, May/June 2016
    This article highlights an NEC proposal to protect first responders, including a requirement for the rapid shutdown of photovoltaic systems.
  • Perfect Storm, January/February 2014 
    This article talks about about a concealed space fire that raged for 18 hours, before spreading into an attic space constructed of lightweight wood trusses and equipped with automatic sprinklers. The building’s pitched roof structure was covered in PV panels that made vertical ventilation of the attic space by the firefighters nearly impossible.
Other resources