Fire risk in rooftop solar systems is a significant safety issue. The number is as high as 90% when rooftops are inspected.

Looking at the recent trends not only the corporations are seeking solar but the homeowners are also looking towards solar rooftop systems to cut back on the electricity bills.

In recent trends, the Indian rooftop solar market grew to 521MW. It is an increment of 53% IN the June 2021 quarter. The solar rooftop has several benefits. Be it low PV prices as compared to grid prices, utilizing unused real estate or impacts from climate change on the rise, there can never be a better time to incorporate solar to add your significance in the solar industry.

Unfortunately, there has been a large chance of fires in rooftop installation. This may be due to several reasons, be it due to poor installation practices or conflicting motives between operations and maintenance (O&M) providers and end-owners.

These risks can turn into a real fire and cause costly damage, business disruptions, store closures and many more issues. Luckily, identifying the causes of these fires can be prevented. Also, the solutions and remedies are very straightforward.


Following are the 3 most common reasons for potentially immediate fire risk:

  1. Wire in sharp edges
  2. Poor terminations in inverter/ heavy scoring on wires
  3. Improperly made or mismatched/ cross mated connected
Poor Connection

Primary Causes

It can be categorized into 3 categories: inconsistency in installation practices, lack/ inaccurate connector information and conflicting motives between O&M providers and system owners. Let us shed some light on each of the above in brief.

Inconsistency is mostly due to the installation through third-party groups. Companies due to various financial reasons give the contract to third party installers. The solar industry is expanding rapidly and the supply of trained individuals is not appropriate. Thus, under-trained or inconsistent associates tend to mess things up.

Rooftop solar is connected in strings of modules ranging from a couple of strings to sometimes 20 modules in the case of commercial systems. Then these are connected to an inverter end and the distance between modules and inverter is pacified from the manufacturers’ end. These need to be installed as per the specifications else the risk of hotspot development is very high. Mismatched or improperly made connectors are a common cause of rooftop solar fires; in some cases, they account for 100% of an installation’s connectors.

The third common cause of fire risk not being promptly identified and resolved is the complicated nature of agreements between an O&M company and a system end-owner. As these agreements typically are written, an O&M is required to fix known issues as well as perform yearly or bi-annual inspections. Here, too, the inspectors sent to conduct these inspections may have widely varying experiences.


Owners themselves also need to understand how to check and spot any problem in their system. The simplified steps mentioned below will help you identify the issue and contact your installer:

  1. De-Energize a site: Using the help of professionals, properly de energize the system and help it reach a off state safe system.
  2. Perform an In-Depth Visual Inspection and System-Off Tests: It is recommended to let the qualified inspector perform in depth visual inspection. The inspection includes improper connectors, wires resting near or on sharp edges, poor terminations at inverters. System checks should include a DC insulation resistance test to check any AC current leak and ensure proper grounding.
  3. Perform System-On Inspections: After resolving the safety issues found during the visual inspection and system-off tests and eliminating the safety risks posed by those, re-energize the site and perform system-on thermal imaging of the components.
Inspection of solar rooftop solar system

Finding and resolving safety risks on your rooftop solar installations is straightforward, and performing the due diligence up-front can save significant costs. If your site has been energized for more than five years, then there is an increased threat that these issues are present. Relying on the trained eye from a certified installer is the best way to check your rooftop for fire risks.