Regulations for Fire Prevention and Fighting in Rooftop Solar Power Systems & Application Procedures for Permit issuance

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Fire prevention is an important requirement to ensure the safety of rooftop solar power systems. To create uniformity and standardize the system, fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power have been issued by the state. In the article below, let’s learn about this regulation and the procedures for applying for a fire protection certificate. 

The role of fire protection for rooftop solar power 

In recent years, thanks to the government’s incentive policies, solar power has become a trend that many households and businesses are interested in and choosing. Not only meeting the demand for electricity, solar power is also a clean energy source that reduces pressure on the national grid and brings high economic benefits to investors. 

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Along with the benefits that this model brings, fire and explosion prevention of solar power systems also needs attention. Because the investment value for this system is not small. A system fire or explosion will cause many unwanted consequences and great losses for the investor as well as the national power grid if the system is connected to the grid. Therefore, complying with fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power will help you minimize risks and protect the expensive equipment system mentioned above. 

In fact, solar panels rarely become a cause of fire or explosion. Because the structural components of the panels have been evaluated and assessed for safety by UL organization. The 3 main factors leading to fires and explosions in rooftop solar power systems include: 

  • Electric arc discharge phenomenon at the connection point to the solar panel
  • Faulty or overloaded power lines cause a fire
  • Insulation installation does not meet requirements 

Accordingly, the work of approving design and installation in accordance with fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power plants needs even more attention. 

Causes of fire and explosion in solar power systems

As mentioned above, the cause of fires in solar power systems is often due to the three main factors mentioned above. However, for you to better understand and know how to properly protect and prevent fires and explosions, we will go deeper into the causes. Besides some objective causes due to hot weather and lightning strikes, the majority of solar power system fires come from DC errors and AC errors. 

DC error

  • PV Hotspot
  • Error of reverse connection of negative and positive poles
  • DC ARC Fault (DC electric arc fault)
  • Scratched wire
  • DC ground fault

AC error

  • Wrong phase
  • Pull and scratch the wire 
  • Scratching the AC wire causes the system to open circuit, short circuit causing electric shock.

Classify solar power projects according to fire prevention regulations

According to current fire protection regulations on rooftop solar power , not all projects require fire protection design approval. 

Projects must be approved for fire protection

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The list of projects requiring fire protection approval includes both fire protection approval for the entire project in general and fire protection approval when installing solar power in particular. The common characteristics of these projects are their large area and large capacity, so approval and fire protection are extremely important. Large projects such as export processing zones, industrial parks, schools, museums, airports, apartments, power plants, security works, etc. must have their designs approved by the fire police agency. Details of the list of 20 types of works requiring design approval are clearly stated in Appendix V, Decree No. 136/2020/ND-CP.

Projects do not require fire protection approval

Projects outside of Appendix V, Decree No. 136/2020/ND-CP, according to current regulations on fire protection of rooftop solar power, do not need to have their fire protection design approved. However, to minimize the risk of causing fires to rooftop solar power systems, the Fire Prevention and Fighting Department – Ministry of Public Security issued Document No. 3288/C07-P4 dated September 8, 2020 to guide the appraisal work. Approve the fire protection design for the Solar Power Plant and rooftop Solar System. The solar power fire prevention document will clearly state the issues that need attention when designing: 

  • Choose the type of rooftop solar power system 
  • Equipment arrangement of rooftop solar power system 
  • Arrange access to the roof. Operation and control 
  • Equipped with fire protection equipment

Solar power fire protection standards

Currently, there are two types of fire protection standards that rooftop solar power systems need to comply with:

National standards on fire protection

Not only the Fire Protection Regulations on rooftop solar power , the State has issued specific regulations on fire protection for the following types of projects: 

  • National Standard TCVN 9385:2012 on Lightning protection for construction works 
  • National Standard TCVN 3890:2021 on equipping portable fire extinguishers right at solar energy system projects.

System installation standards according to fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power 

When installed, the photovoltaic panel system must be safely grounded. At the same time, metal parts such as rack systems must be connected to the grounding system of the lightning protection system at the highest and lowest points of the system. 

The DC and AC power wiring system must be fully protected from lightning surges to ensure protection of electronic devices in case of sudden voltage increases. 

Fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power require that rooftop solar power systems must be installed above 20m high and have at least 02 grounding conductors at a fixed distance apart, ensuring safety. 

If your house contains many flammable and explosive objects, you should consider installing a solar energy system. For areas with specific characteristics like this, the application of fire protection regulations on rooftop solar power needs to be given even more importance. 

Must fully preserve system archives such as drawings, materials, etc. to ensure quick and effective access to the system when repairs are needed.

Fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power on installation arrangement

The Fire and Rescue Police Department has detailed recommendations when installing solar panels to limit the risk of fire and explosion. Fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power on the location of solar panel installation are as follows: 

  • Do not install solar panels above rooms of fire and explosion hazard class A and B; Rooms that during operation are likely to accumulate flammable gases and dust.
  • Limit the placement of solar panels in warehouse rooms or rooms where large quantities of flammable substances are stored. 
  • When installing solar panels on the roof, they must be divided into groups and rows. In particular, the size must not exceed 40x40m for each group and the distance between 2 groups must not be less than 1.5m. 
  • Do not place solar panels within 3m around roof exits through stairwells, fire ladders, or openings through hatches. 
  • In fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power, when installing the system, the load affecting the roof structure must be taken into account in both normal and fire conditions.
  • Do not install solar panels on roofs made from flammable materials or flammable finishes. 

Instructions on procedures and documents for approval of solar power fire protection

Regulations on fire protection of rooftop solar power systems that regulate the issue of approval procedures and fire protection design are not very specific. To clearly understand and be able to fully carry out the procedures, please refer to the detailed information we have compiled below.

Dossier for fire protection approval of rooftop solar power

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A complete solar power fire protection approval dossier should include the following documents and papers:

  • Application for approval of solar power fire protection (form PC06) 
  • Report Total Investment of Project/Construction.
  • Business license/Investment certificate of Investor. 
  • Authorization Document (Investor and Design Consultant).
  • Design documents (Drawings & explanations).
  • Fire protection system profile.
  • Roof rental contract/ Lease contract/ Official letter approving the installation of solar panels.
  • Roof load test records (if any).
  • Capacity profile of fire protection design consultant/electrical system design consultant (if any).

Fire protection system design documents

In addition to the approval documents, to be granted a qualified rooftop solar power fire protection license, you need to prepare additional design documents for this system. Documents should include:

  • Overall ground; Layout of solar panels 
  • Fire alarm system, fire extinguishing system (if any) 
  • Roof access/escape route 
  • Emergency shutdown system in case of problems 
  • Grounding system for solar panels and inverter 

Each locality may have some changes in procedures and document requirements. To complete the procedure quickly and completely, you should research carefully, consult the local unit in charge or contact reputable solar power installation units like VREnergy for advice. 

Popular rooftop solar power fire protection solution

The best way to prevent fires is to prevent the causes that lead to fire and explosion incidents. First of all, you should invest in fire protection equipment and automatic fire protection systems for solar power systems to ensure safety for users and the system when an incident occurs. In addition, finding and cooperating with a reputable rooftop solar power installation unit with experience and understanding of rooftop solar power fire protection regulations is also essential. 

VREnergy is a unit with extensive experience implementing rooftop solar power fire protection solutions. With large projects successfully implemented, VREnergy is always highly appreciated by customers for its capacity and responsibility for each project. We provide the following services:

  • Consulting on solar power fire protection system design
  • Providing fire protection equipment for solar power systems
  • Construction and installation of solar power fire protection systems
  • Approval and acceptance of solar power fire protection

Hopefully the above article has provided you with useful knowledge about fire protection regulations for rooftop solar power . Ensuring the system complies with state regulations will help you increase the life of the project and feel more secure during use.