Solar’s Effect on Seemingly Unrelated Industries

By Ruth Fein Revell, IREC communications

A feature in the September special SPI print issue of Solar Industry Magazine highlights how firefighters, code officials, real estate brokers and appraisers, home financiers and others are affected by the growth of residential solar. Each allied solar industry is benefitting from increased knowledge needed to do their jobs in a more solar prevalent world.

Clean energy professional with metersThe sirens are cut as the truck rolls up to an involved structure fire. If you’re a firefighter first on the scene, you don’t have time to pause before you put everything you know into action.

Once it’s established the house is empty, you advance toward the billowing smoke. Then the entire squad stops dead in their tracks. There are solar panels on the roof that you couldn’t see from the front. You rely on your recent training; no time is wasted as power to the home and the solar equipment is safely shut down (to the extent possible). Now you can confidently approach the roof.

Without effective solar education and training, this scenario might not play out the same way in another neighborhood, where first responders didn’t have the knowledge and confidence to respond without skipping a beat.

In many areas of the country, firefighters are becoming better prepared for emergencies where solar technology is present. They’re alleviating their safety concerns. They’re able to swiftly identify and shut down even less-visible solar systems. They know where they can operate safely with a solar-energized system in play, as well as when they can or can’t create a rooftop escape route for heat and smoke. New in-person and interactive online training courses are helping firefighters and other first responders become solar smarter. And with increased knowledge and a plan, they can approach and act automatically, as they do for other structural emergencies.

Homeowners across the U.S. are increasingly adopting solar, so more firefighters are coming into contact with solar installations every day.

Read the full article.

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