PVStop – Making solar energy safe
Nobel Fire Systems is known for its cutting-edge firefighting systems, but our interest doesn’t just lie in active fire suppression. Our ethos is one of safety throughout. That is why we bring to our clients a groundbreaking safety product aimed squarely at a specific and potentially deadly risk.
There are over 1 million photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in the UK alone and their use is expanding rapidly as cost and availability makes the technology more accessible. However, with that increase in numbers comes a corresponding increase in safety incidents.
Solar panels can never be stopped from producing electrical power
While solar panels are exposed to light they produce lethal amounts of direct current. DC electricity is different to AC electricity, and its presence or magnitude cannot be easily detected, so it is more dangerous than typical AC sources.
PV solar panels will continue to produce DC electricity regardless of whether they are in a damaged state or not, so they should always be regarded as highly dangerous, and the risk of electrocution should be considered ‘ever-present’, regardless of the type and proximity of any shut-off device fitted.
The only way to render a PV Solar system totally safe is to completely eradicate the light source in a fashion that can be guaranteed not to become dislodged or compromised
The traditional method of obscuring light has been to use a thick canvas tarpaulin or black plastic sheets to cover the panels. But if the panels are situated on a roof or other difficult-to-reach location, this can be a highly dangerous task to carry out effectively.
Fire and Rescue Services throughout the UK have recognised that this is a real threat and risk to their firefighting personnel, and up until now there has been no completely practical and safe solution to prevent Solar panels from producing DC electricity.
PVStop is a fire-retardant solution that acts as an easy-to-apply liquid blanket to render solar panels safe. UK Fire and Rescue Services are now investing in this product, acknowledging its unique safety properties.
How does it work?
The primary function of PVStop is to render PV installations electrically safe while acting as a fire-retardant solution. The polymer spray forms an obscuration membrane on the surface of the panel and completely blocks any light from reaching the electricity-generating surface of the PV panel. This robust polymer sets quickly to form a barrier resilient not only to light but to the elements such as rain and wind so once applied it can’t be dislodged or accidentally re-expose the PV panel surface.
The PVStop spray delivery system allows users to cover solar panels in a matter of seconds. The coating can be sprayed from a safe distance up to 15m away.
The polymer film is designed to stick to solar panels during all weather conditions, negating the necessity to place canvas or thick plastic sheets over the panel.
Once the coating has dried, PVStop can be peeled off by hand easily. It does not contain any adhesives and does not damage solar panels in any way.
Mr Ian Bartle, Managing Director of Nobel Fire Systems, said of PVStop:
“PVStop fits perfectly within our innovative approach to safety, seeking out unique products for special risk environments. Our drive for research and development in cutting-edge technology draws fellow innovators and manufacturers alike, and allows us to bring to the market safety solutions that make a difference.”
For more information, go to www.nobel-fire-systems.com