The solar industry is in the grip of a supply chain crisis, which means sourcing components for solar farms is increasingly difficult. Solar industry supply chain disruption means sourcing replacement components is extremely challenging – consequently, protecting existing assets from damage, including fire, is crucial.
Increasing commodity prices and freight costs mean new solar projects are becoming much more expensive – consequently, solar farm operators must do all they can to protect their existing assets. In addition, the construction of solar farms is becoming an increasingly expensive business.
Solar farm installation costs are typically between $0.89 to $1.01 per watt, meaning that a 10 megawatt (MW) solar farm would cost between $8.9 and $10 million dollars to build. But additional challenges are likely to increase up-front costs for projects, squeezing project profitability.
Over 50,000 electrical fires occur annually, with nearly 500 deaths and 1,400 injuries, according to research from the Electrical Safety Foundation International. It goes without saying that electrical fires are common and dangerous, but they can also be preventable with the correct safety measures in place.
Despite the fact that wind turbine and photovoltaic fires can be catastrophic, the clean energy industry has been slow to address fire risk. This lack of foresight is particularly surprising when you consider both the prevalence and the financial cost of fire incidents in the clean energy industry. However, research suggests that the renewables industry is greatly underestimating the level of fire risk it faces.
Selecting and implementing the right fire suppression system can be the difference between a minor fire and a catastrophe. If you think about fire suppression systems and picture old sprinkler systems or run-of-the-mill fire extinguishers, it might surprise you to know that there are modern systems that don’t use water or foam.
As global warming rises, many people turn to solar farms to combat the issue. Because solar farms do not have any harmful discharges, they do not contaminate the land, water, or air around them. This combined with how sustainable they are gives them an edge over fossil fuel usage for power. As more solar farms are created, though, you might wonder how safe these structures are. In fact, you may ask, "can solar farms catch on fire?"
Is a fire suppression system the same as a sprinkler system? The short answer is no; they are not the same. Although they may share the same objective—suppressing and extinguishing a fire—their methods of doing so are very different. In this blog, we'll talk about the difference between a fire suppression system vs a sprinkler system so you can make an informed decision on which one would be suitable for your application.
Though solar farm fires are rare, they are not impossible. Any high-power electrical equipment, including a solar power plant, presents a risk for fire. The good news is that solar farm fire protection has quickly evolved along with the solar industry. Firetrace is honored to be part of the mission to help protect businesses, employees, the environment, and our communities that rely on and supply solar power. Let’s talk more about what happens in the worst-case scenario when a fire does break out at a solar farm.
Fire breaking out at photovoltaic (PV) farms has the potential to be costly: on project finances, on the environment, and on the perception of solar technology. The cost of repairing assets ravaged by fire is one thing but dealing with the fall out of enraged local residents or the consequences of scorched environments could be even more tricky.
Given suspicions that solar farm fires are underreported, a new Firetrace International report highlights concerns that the solar industry may be unaware of the true extent of fire risk. Data concerning solar farm fires is in short supply. In fact, such is the lack of statistics that researchers – specifically, those at the UK’s BRE National Solar Centre – have reached the worrying conclusion that they suspect solar farm fires are being underreported.
If you’re a building owner, a business owner, or another key decision maker in an industry where the potential for fire is high, then it’s important to understand whether or not you need a fire suppression system. The fact is, in many settings, fire suppression systems are necessary to quickly detect fire and automatically activate—before equipment or employees are put in harm’s way.