Thanks Dan,


Thanks for these good points and good ideas. Of course safety of the 
responders/helpers is #1, thanks for the reminder.


I have not heard about spraying foam on the array to disable. What are the 
specifics on this? What kind of foam? Are your local fire fighters equipped to 
spray this when needed? 


Also, I had not thought that there would be lethal voltage from a PV array at 
night. Are you talking about small amounts of moonlight and starlight 
generating enough power to kill someone who cuts into those wires?


Another question for the group. On an off-grid home, or barn, powered by an 
inverter I would assume that if fire fighters (wearing protective gloves) have 
cut into the homes AC wiring that the inverter power will be disabled assuming 
shorted wires. I know the old Trace SW's and the OutBack inverters shut off 
quickly in cases of shorted output wiring. Do all stand alone inverters shut 
down quickly in cases of shorted output? At this point the fire fighter would 
need to be concerned with the battery bank, any DC voltages in the structure, 
and of course whatever other power source may be connected to the structure - 
fossil fueled generator, PV array, wind turbine, hydro turbine. I recommend 
that the emergency responders send one person to sweep around the perimeter of 
the building(s) looking for any potential power generators. This person should 
have enough training/experience to disable these alternate generators by 
shutting off the fuel sources and or throwing disconnect switches as required.


Dave Palumbo

Independent Power LLC

Hyde Park, VT


From: RE-wrenches [] On Behalf 
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:10 AM
To: RE-wrenches
Subject: Re: [RE-wrenches] Fire fighters safety class


Hey Dave, I'm a retired level 2 Fire Fighter and EMT. I've been invited to 
address several EMS departments and State Electrical Classes about Solar / Off 
Grid emergencies. All departments are required to re certify annually in 
subjects like CPR and Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT), so I try to build on that 
training. Basically, I like the strategy 'Identify the threat, protect yourself 
and the public'.. In that order.


HAZMAT training (Including downed power lines, crashed trailer trucks and some 
industrial emergencies ), teaches to identify the threat and cordon off the 
area based on the threat identified. i.e. don't compromise FF safety if it's 
not absolutely necessary. Yes, there are times when a FF needs to conduct a 
hasty search, but the focus is on life safety, not property. Yes, EMS can still 
knock down a structure fire and overhaul, but there are situations where the 
best approach is to just keep everyone away and call in the pros.. The trick is 
knowing the difference.


As we all know, the old 'Axe thru the battery cable' can be a recipe for 
disaster. If the battery is under load and gassing (an most likely the FF won't 
know because they're using SCBA), cutting the wire could set off an explosion. 
Similarly, I got to sit in on a conversation between a Prof. of Alternative 
Energy Vehicles at MIT and a Formula One Electric Racing Team.. Apparently many 
of the newer battery designs can ignite or explode if not handled properly.. 
and it sounds like once some of them go, there is no stopping them.. Again, 
Identify and if it's beyond their training, run.


As for neutralizing an array, as you know the industry suggests covering the 
array with an opaque covering.. Looks good on paper, but could be a PIA.. I 
like to advise shooting the array with heavy foam from the ground to 
temporarily disable the array.. Even at night, although they don't make power, 
they can still have a lethal VOC.. Again, call in the pros.


I think your point about the industry going thru so many changes over the years 
is an under statement. I've seen systems installed in the 80's that are safe, 
well designed and still performing perfectly. I've also seen systems installed 
more recently I wouldn't want my cat near.. There's been so many DIY systems 
and Uncle Larry installs, there's no telling what's going on.. More times than 
not, the home owner knows what's what.. 


Rule #1 in HAZMAT, 'If you see a truck driver running away from a crash.. keep 
up with them'.


Hope this helps. db

Dan Brown
Foxfire Energy Corp.
Renewable Energy Systems
NABCEP #092907-44


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [RE-wrenches] Fire fighters safety class
From: "Dave Palumbo" < <>>
Date: Mon, September 19, 2016 10:13 pm
To: "'RE-wrenches'" < <>>



I will be presenting a class on "Solar Home Fire Fighter Safety" to our local 
volunteer fire department this coming weekend. I will tour them around my off 
grid neighborhood so that we can review various PV, micro-hydro, different 
inverters and battery systems, various back-up generators - diesel, LP gas, 
tractor PTO as well as standard gasoline generators. Then we will visit  a 7 
year old 5kW net-metered PV system on a 75 year old home (no battery back-up).


·         I'm sure that there will be questions about Tesla Power Wall battery 
packs as Green Mountain Power is selling and leasing these in Vermont. I have 
no experience with Lithium Ion batteries at this point and I could use some 
advice for the fire fighters.

·         Would you be more, less, or equally concerned entering a home with 
back-up Li batteries vs AGM's vs Standard LA's?

·         There are some 500kW and larger solar farms going in locally 
recently. Anything that fire fighters need to know about these fenced in power 
generators? Say, vs utility sub-stations that they may be familiar with?


Thoughts on pulling utility meters to disconnect power from homes that have a 
fire on the premises? Arc flash back is a real issue and these volunteer squads 
are not going to have full flashback protection. What are the odds of serious 
injury of pulling a meter to disable utility electricity to a home on fire? 
Many times there is no other way to quickly disconnect a home from utility 


As a side note, Vermont does not require licensed electricians for residential 
work and only a couple of municipalities require inspections. It can be a 
little scary, but always interesting.


Are there any good You Tube videos on fire fighter safety and homes with solar 
electric systems that you recommend?


Thanks for your time,


David Palumbo 

Independent Power LLC

462 Solar Way Drive

Hyde Park, VT 05655

802-371-8678 cell

802-888-4917 home




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