Solar panels on top of roofs get hot. Even PV solar panels that produce electricity get hot – in fact the hotter the sun the less electricity they produce. Solar water heating panels also get hot and that heat is useful. At Genersys we design solar thermal panels for water heating to get hot, but not too hot, and to be safe in all circumstances.
There have been some publicity recently about PV panels (the ones that produce electricity) either catching fire or proving a hazard to fire fighters when a building having PV is on fire. Fortunately fire in buildings is a rare event and fire on PV buildings is even rarer. I do not know of any case of a building being made more unsafe (in fire terms) with solar water heating panels on it. However, at Genersys we strive to ensure that our panels are of the highest quality and recently we had our panels tested for fire hazards. They passed the audition.
The testing was carried out by the Building Research Establishment which is world renowned in testing of building materials of all kinds. The fire testing was carried out on 18th April 2012. There were tests, which were applied to the centre of the panels, the top of the panels and the bottom corner of the panels. That way the panels, frames and the flashing could all be tested.
Two burners were pointed at the panels and naked flame placed on the panel for one minute, to see if they could ignite the panels.
There was no sign of visible damage to the panels.
Genersys panels have survived earthquakes that have devastating buildings, high negative pressure, weather of all types and conditions, golf ball sized hailstones so it is not a surprise to us that the fire testing was successful.