Solar Safety-SMART

Stay Safe Around Solar Power

Solar panels in field with sun in skySolar power is everywhere! More and more people are converting the sun’s energy into electricity to power their lights and appliances, heat their water, and even run their cars. Maybe you’ve even seen solar panels on the rooftops of nearby homes or businesses, or in front or back yards.

Did you know that a solar power system can generate enough electricity to injure or kill you? Here’s what you need to know and do to stay safe.

Protect solar panels

Solar panels on roof of housePhotovoltaic (PV) cells are what you see inside glass-faced solar panels. A set of PV panels is called an array. Specially hardened glass protects PV cells from wind and weather, but this glass will crack or break if a heavy object hits or falls on it.

  • Safety Tip: Always stay at least 3 feet away from PV arrays. Never put objects on them, climb on them, hang things from them, or throw things at them.

Respect cables and equipment

Solar panel piping running along the side of housePower cables run from rooftop PV arrays down the sides of buildings to meters and/or to other equipment. These cables are typically contained in special pipes, but some areas may be exposed

  • Safety Tip: Stay away from pipes or wires that lead from PV arrays, and never tamper with electrical meters or other equipment. Keep ladders away as well.

Avoid buried hazards

Call 811 before you dig.Some PV systems are located on the ground. The electricity they produce is carried on buried electrical cables that are very dangerous to contact.

  • Safety Tip: Never dig near ground-level PV systems. If an adult is planning a digging project near one, remind them to ask the property owner and call 811 before digging to find out where buried electrical lines are located.