Fire risk related to the use of PV systems in building facades
1 Ministry of Interior Italian National Fire Services Largo Santa Barbara 2, Rome, Italy
2 FSC ENGINEERING SRL, Fire & Structure Consulting, via A. Zenon 4, Milano, Italy
Nowadays the use of photovoltaic (PV) systems in buildings is not only related to the solar energy conversion into electrical one, but these PV modules or panels could also be used with aesthetic features or, even more, as thermal protection systems in building facades. Thanks to the technical development of the photovoltaic industry, PV system can easily be architectonically integrated into building construction elements such as roofs, vertical façade components, both with opaque or transparent surfaces. Furthermore, PV construction facades elements could also be provided by openings like doors or windows. Accident analysis show that the use of PV systems as construction elements could increase the risk of fire in buildings. In fact, international and National data report a growing number of fire caused by PV system applied or integrated in buildings. The Italian National Fire Service, that is the Authority having jurisdiction for fire safety in buildings (in Italy), in 2012 has released a Guideline in order to asses and mitigate the risk of fire when a PV system is put in place on a building as a façade or as a roof. The Guideline addresses not only the reduction of the PV fire ignitions causes and the aspects related to the fire spread due to the combustible parts that constitute PV modules or panels, but also take into account the safety of both the maintenance personnel and the rescue teams. This paper focuses on the fire safety aspects related to the use of fire PV panels and systems in building facades, showing some interesting experimental data related to the fire behaviour of these components and underlining the factors that promote the spread of fire, like the high operating temperature of the PV system itself.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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