Fire Safety and PV Modules on Roofs: An Integrated Approach
20 April 2023
Yesterday, the Modern Building Alliance presented during the Fire Information Exchange Platform meeting the findings of the tests conducted by PU Europe on fire performance of PV on roofs highlighting the need for comprehensive assessments.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels on roofs are gaining traction as Europe moves very fast towards sustainable energy sources. However, ensuring fire safety in these installations remains a crucial concern. The needed integration of PV modules on roofs must consider fire safety through comprehensive risk assessments and appropriate rules.
Supporting the Transition to Clean Energy While Addressing Fire Safety Concerns
Large flat roofs offer an efficient space for PV arrays in developed areas. With the EU's RePowerEU initiative and directives like EPBD and EED promoting energy savings, the adoption of solar panels on roofs is on the rise. The lack of harmonised assessment methods for the fire performance of PV panels on roofs in Europe has raised concerns from some regulators and insurers about the fire safety performance of certain roof systems. The MBA would like to recall that a holistic approach is required, considering factors such as fire spread prevention, insulation system performance, and the prevention of PV panels becoming an ignition source.
Mitigate Fire Risks With An Integrated Approach
Enforcing existing technical provisions and rules is crucial to mitigate fire risks. Developing a fire performance assessment of PV panels, and developing a classification and method of assessment of fire safety based on the interaction between PV panels and the roof, allow for informed decisions regarding PV panel types suitable for different roof constructions and insulation systems. In many cases the existing roof systems can accommodate PV panels installations. In addition, ensuring firefighter safety and minimising risks during firefighting operations is paramount with an integrated approach considering installation design, such as mounting systems, separation distances, and proximity to fire safety facilities.
To know more:
PU Europe factsheet: