Image: Aldi

An electrical fault with a solar PV system has been confirmed as the cause of a fire in Lancashire last week.

Three fire engines from the area were called to Colne Health Centre on Craddock Road, Colne on 11 February. The incident is still under investigation by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, with initial reports claiming the fire ‘involved solar panels'.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed to Solar Power Portal that the fire was caused by an electrical fault in the solar PV system. It is currently unknown which component was the cause, nor which technology was used.

An investigation into the fire is ongoing.

A report published in 2017 by the Building Research Establishment found that fires involving solar panels are most commonly caused by errors made during installation.

More than a third (36%) of over 50 incidents analysed by the BRE were attributed to problematic installations. Only 12% were down to faulty products and 5% to system design, with the remaining 47% unable to be attributed to a cause.

The Solar Trade Association’s (STA) director of new markets and advocacy, Léonie Green, said at the time that the report showed the risk of fire caused by a PV system is 1 in 80,000 – much lower than with other common electrical equipment.

Both STA and BRE recommended that only installers accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme be employed to carry out solar installations.