With more than 1.6 million solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the U.S. today, and a growth rate that puts us on track for 1 million new installations annually by 2025, it becomes more likely every day that a first responder might pull up to fight a kitchen fire and find the building is powered by the sun.

Rather than wait for an emergency to learn the basics of solar technologies, firefighters are taking advantage of online and in-person training to prepare them to respond to fires on a solar-equipped structure.

A new short video gives a high-level overview of solar tactical operations, with four tips to help firefighters when encountering a solar-equipped structure.

  • Identify the presence of solar even when panels aren’t immediately visible
  • Shut down the system to the extent possible
  • Watch out for remaining solar-specific hazards
  • Leave safe Leave the scene as safe as possible.

IREC, along with the International Association of Fire Fighters and National Association of State Fire Marshals is helping firefighters access solar training, thanks to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Training & Education for Professionals (STEP) initiative.

In 2017, more than 8,000 U.S. firefighters and code officials received STEP training focused on interacting with solar in the course of their jobs. More than 500,000 were reached via information through IREC and STEP partners, which also included the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, and the International Code Council.

Learn more about online or in-person solar training opportunities for firefighters.