Solar lights are a great alternative to traditional holiday lighting. They save energy and can cut the cost of your electric bill by up to 60%. Solar lights also have a number of other benefits that make them worth considering for your next Christmas or any time decoration project. As with anything, there is always a downside too so it’s important to know both the pros and cons of solar lights before making a decision.
In 2017, Wate.com reported of a couple in Newport that had their solar light catch fire and their German Shepherd saved the day by notifying a couple of the fire. read the entire story here.
Can solar lights catch fire?
According to reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), some manufacturers of solar-powered lights have faced criticism for producing faulty lights that cause the batteries to overheat, causing them to catch fire. So, yes. Li-Ion batteries are extremely combustible and volatile, which can lead to solar powered lights catching fire.
According to P. D. Moskowitz, V. M. Fthenakis who published a paper titled “Toxic materials released from photovoltaic modules during fires: Health risks.”, there is a 2% probability that a fire may occur to PV arrays each year with 0.6% of the fire accidents occurring in residential areas and 3.5% of them started from some rooftop PV modules.
When solar lights catch fire, you can lose the lighting utility it provides and it also causes secondary damage such as toxic gas emission. Solar panels are made of organic components shown in the image below and they release toxic compounds when they burn including HF and HCL hydrogen compounds.
What causes solar lights to catch fire?
- Defective manufacturing: In some cases, the solar lights are not made with proper ventilation, which can cause the batteries to overheat and catch fire.
- Cheap materials/quality of PV modules: In other cases, solar lights are made with cheap materials that are not durable and can easily catch fire. A 2020 study revealed that 15% of accidents because of the quality of PV module
- Faulty batteries: Solar lights use rechargeable batteries to power the LED light. If the batteries are faulty, they can overheat and cause a fire.
- Installation errors: Haphazard installation of solar lights can also cause a fire. If the solar lights are not installed properly, they can come in contact with flammable materials and catch fire. In a 2020 study, 36% of fire events were due to installation errors.
How to prevent solar lights from catching fire?
- Make sure to buy solar lights from a reputable brand.
- Check the reviews before you buy.
- Be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them correctly.
- Do not leave the lights on for more than 12 hours at a time.
- Replace the batteries every 6 months.
- Ensure that the solar lights are in a well-ventilated area.
- If you notice any problems with your solar lights, like flickering or overheating, discontinue use and contact the manufacturer.
Do solar light bulbs heat up?
Yes, the solar light bulbs do heat up, but not to the point where they will catch fire. The heat is used to generate electricity to power the LED light.
How long do solar lights last?
Solar lights can last anywhere from 2-10 years. It depends on the quality of the solar light and how well it is taken care of.
Fireproof Solutions of PV Modules
Fire Hazards and recalled solar lights
In 2018, Copper Lighting LLC and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Cooper Lighting, LLC is recalling about 362,000 All-Pro and Defiant solar-powered outdoor LED light fixtures because their batteries can overheat and cause the light fixture’s housing to melt, posing a fire hazard. About 350,000 were distributed in the United States, with about 11,963 sold in Canada. Copper Lighting is, however, still in business and retails several safe products here.
My name is Alex Landry and I am an experienced solar PV engineer and an editor here at Tru Solar Score. I am an accomplished solar PV expert with over 12 years of installing off-grid solar systems in various states in the US. Between 2015 and 2019, I led a small team of energy audit analysts for a company based out of Oregon. I currently run this site full-time and when I am not testing a new solar PV product in the market, I am offering customized consulting on solar systems installations. You can reach me directly using firstname.lastname@example.org