Dispatch 3288/C07-P4

Fire protection requirements for solar energy system in Vietnam:

The Fire and Rescue Police Department (Ministry of Public Security) (the fire department/ PCCC) has just issued Dispatch No. 3288/C07-P4 dated 8 September, 2020 to the Police of the provinces/cities directly under the government guiding the design appraisal and approval of fire protection for solar power plants and rooftop solar power systems.

Solar energy systems constructed upon any project on the fire department list in accordance with Appendix 4, Degree No. 79/2014 such as export processing zones, industrial parks, and schools. Institutes, universities, museums, airports … these solar energy project designs must be evaluated by and be approved by the fire department.

Dispatch 3288: PCCC Fire protection for solar power Vietnam
Play Video about Gia Lai solar power accident 2020
2A/ List of projects subject to design appraisal and approval by PCCC:

1.         Projects for planning new construction or renovation of urban centers, residential areas, industrial parks, export processing zones or high-tech zones; projects to build new or renovate technical infrastructure works related to fire prevention and fighting of urban centers, residential areas, industrial parks, export processing zones or hi-tech zones under their approval competence district or higher.

2.         Institutes, universities, colleges, vocational schools, high schools and other types of schools with a volume of 5,000 m3 or more; Kindergartens and preschools with 100 or more children.

3.         Hospitals of district or higher level; Nursing homes and other medical examination and treatment establishments with 21 beds or more.

4.         Convention centers, theaters, cultural houses, movie theaters, circuses with a capacity of 300 seats or more; indoor sports stadium with a capacity of 200 seats or more; outdoor stadium with a capacity of 5,000 seats or more; disco, crowded entertainment service establishments with a volume of 1,500 m3 or more; other public works with a volume of 1,000 m3 or more.

5.         Museums, libraries, exhibitions, archives at provincial or higher level; fair halls, historic sites or other cultural works at the provincial level or under the direct management of ministries, ministerial-level agencies or government-attached agencies.

6.         Solid markets of district or higher level; other markets, trade centers, supermarkets with a total stall area of 300 m2 or more or with a volume of 1,000 m3 or more.

7.         Radio, television, post and telecommunications works of district or higher level.

8.         Command, dispatch, administration and control centers of regional and provincial or higher level in all domains.

9.         Airport; seaports and inland waterway ports of grade IV or higher; car terminals of district or higher level; Railway stations with a total floor area of 500 m2 or more.

10.       Apartment building with 05 floors or more; multi-function houses, hotels, guest houses, motels with 05 floors or more or with a volume of 5,000 m3 or more.

11.       Offices of state administrative agencies at commune or higher level; working offices of specialized agencies, enterprises, socio-political organizations and other organizations with 05 floors or more or with a volume of 5,000 m3 or more.

12.       Works belonging to scientific research, high technology establishments with 05 floors or more or with a volume of 5,000 m3 or more.

13.       Subway works; railway tunnels with a length of 2,000 m or more; road tunnels with a length of 100 m or more; car garage with a capacity of 05 seats or more; works in tunnels with production, preservation and use of inflammables and explosives with a volume of 1,000 m3 or more.

14.       Arsenal of weapons, explosives and supporting tools; works for importing, exporting, processing, preserving, transporting petroleum and petroleum products, gas, industrial explosives.

15.       Industrial production works with grades A, B, C, D, E danger of fire and explosion belonging to main production lines with a volume of 1,000 m3 or more.

16.       Petroleum shops with at least 1 pump column; gas shops that have a total inventory of 70 kg or more.

17.       Power plants (nuclear, thermoelectric, hydroelectric, wind power …) transformer stations with a voltage of 110 KV or higher.

18.       Ship building and repairing factories; aircraft repair and maintenance factory.

19.       Warehouses for flammable goods and materials or with flammable packaging with a volume of 1,000 m3 or more.

20.       Security and defense works with fire and / or explosion dangers or with special protection requirements

2B/ For the works NOT on the Appendix 4 list:
Projects not on PCCC list

The design appraisal and approval by PCCC is not required, but nevertheless, the PCCC recommend to take measures to ensure safety on fire protection.

According to the fire department, thin film cells often contain more components that are more likely to ignite than crystalline panels, so people and businesses should use crystalline panels. can.

As for the arrangement of equipment, the Fire Department recommends: The panels installed on the roof must be divided into groups, rows, with the size not exceeding 40×40 meters for each group, the distance between the two groups is not. be less than 1.5 meters. In particular, do not place the panel within 3 meters around the exit to the roofs through the staircase and do not install the panel on the roofs made of flammable materials, or the finishing material is flammable.

3/ Analysis of the root causes to fire and explosion in solar energy
PCCC statistics
PCCC graph

Although the above statistics shows that solar power is a very safe industry, we have to remember that solar energy means installing on rooftop at heights and deals with high voltage direct current electricity. Therefore it is important to know the common problems and how to mitigate to ensure a safe system lasting over 25 years.

Causes of fire or explosion in solar energy systems and how to prevent them:

As we can see from picture above, failure of the solar power system or even a fire during operation is usually caused mainly by: product failure (35%), failure in planning (17%), installation mistake (38%) or external influence (10%). Whatever the cause, however, the root cause of the burning most often found is the DC arc discharge.

Failure and fire due to DC arc discharge can occur at any point in DC high voltage wiring on conventional solar power system. This wiring system runs from rooftop solar panels down to string inverters – installed adjacent to the control board.

A/ Failure and fire due to DC arc discharge. Factors that lead to DC arcing:

  1. Animals (insects, mice, pets, birds, …) damage the cable.
  2. Natural disasters (tornadoes, floods, high winds, hail).
  3. Due to unexpected problems in the construction and installation (stepping on or crawling through the roof rack, drilling through the wall, collision while cleaning,…).
  4. Water infiltration due to poor quality or damaged accessories such as plastic, pipes, rubber gaskets, …
  5. Failure of the coupling and plastic cover due to UV exposure; Power lines from the photovoltaic panels to the inverter are peeled or the construction jack is not guaranteed, loose, potentially high risk of fire and explosion from the photovoltaic panels.
  6. Humidity accumulates in the devices due to weather.
  7. Poor installation.
  8. Choosing the poor quality equipment, supplies and accessories that are not suitable for installation and not in accordance with manufacturer’s installation manuals.
  9. Electrical wiring labelling.
  10. Correct system electrical sizing.
  11. Proper grounding.
  12. Good quality equipment.

B/ Measures to prevent fire and explosion of solar power system:

  1. Select suitable materials/ equipment from reputable brands with a clear certificate of origin.
  2. Choosing a reputable installer with experience in solar power.
  3. Place the inverter, central control panel in a dry, cool place, avoid contact with flammable objects, closed room.
  4. Electrical cabinets must be protected by specialized breakers, power sources must have lightning protection systems on the lines.
  5. The connections must be sealed and tightened to the correct torque specifications.
  6. Regular maintenance and maintenance of the system to check the joints, the quality of the auxiliary equipment in the solar energy system, ensuring its operation according to standards.

In conclusion, to prevent accidents and have a long lasting solar energy system, it is important to select a good installation contractor with necessary training, certificate and experience.

Key Takeaways:

1/ Your rooftop solar power project must seek PCCC approval if it is on the list above.

2/ Even if not on the list, your solar rooftop project should follow the recommended installation practice as follows.

Projects not on PCCC list

3/ PCCC recommends photovoltaic solar modules over thin film because thin film are considered more flammable.

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CT TNHH Suntiki Solar is a solar energy company based in Vietnam. We consult, survey, engineer and install rooftop solar panel systems for residential, commercial, industrial such as factories, farms, villas, industrial parks and others.