To get all the benefits of solar power, make sure you know some of the basics of solar safety. A solar system installed in your home can substantially reduce dependence on power from the utility grid and cut monthly electric bills drastically. Professionally installed solar systems are mature, proven technology that meets strict electrical and fire codes.
Still, it’s important to remember that those silent panels on your rooftop are generating dangerous amounts of electricity — probably at least 600 volts on a sunny day — and demand appropriate caution and respect, just as with any conventional source of high voltage. While living with and enjoying the energy efficiency of solar power, here are a few solar safety precautions to keep in mind.
- The roof is now off limits to children. Kids of a certain age have a natural curiosity about the roof of the home and may attempt to venture out on it, particularly if upper floor windows provide access. Make clear to everyone in the family that the roof is now a hazardous zone due to high electrical voltage and only adults have permission to go there.
- Be careful yourself. If for any reason you have to go out on the roof — to retrieve a stranded cat, for instance, or to maintain gutters — first shut down the solar system at the switch box installed to turn the system off temporarily and for emergencies. Individual panels still generate electricity even after the rest of the system’s circuits are shut down, however, so avoid contacting rooftop components including panels, wiring or support structure. If you can’t avoid touching parts of the system, first cover the panels with a heavy tarp to block all sunlight and interrupt electrical generation.
- Don’t assume that panels can support you. Never attempt to stand on rooftop solar panels or any of the support structure. Panels are not made to support the weight of a human and, in addition, tend to be very slippery and may trigger a very dangerous fall from the roof.
Ask the professionals at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing for more information about the basics of solar safety.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about TOPIC and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.
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