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Solar panel fault being probed after fire at Vodacom's Cape Town office

Six fire pumps were used to battle the blaze, along with two Bronto hydraulic aerial platforms.
Six fire pumps were used to battle the blaze, along with two Bronto hydraulic aerial platforms.
Image: JP Smith

The Vodacom building at Century City caught alight on Sunday, with firefighters from Cape Town's fire and rescue department bringing it under control.

Safety and security mayco member JP Smith said they were called out at 11am.

“Upon arrival of the first crews, it was discovered that the solar panels on the roof had caused the rooftop to catch fire.”

Six fire pumps were used to battle the blaze, along with two of the Bronto hydraulic aerial platforms.

“This incident is the latest of such fires being caused by alternative energy installations, as those in the corporate and residential sectors battle to mitigate the effects of large-scale rolling blackouts,” Smith said.

Vodacom building in Century City on fire.

Posted by Yolande Alexander on Sunday, July 9, 2023

“It is highly recommended that those who have already had such alternative solutions installed, have their systems regularly inspected for signs of electrical fatigue or mechanical breakdown.

“Additional preventive measures and electrical fail-safe components, while perhaps increasing the initial installation cost, should be considered.”

Cabling of a thicker diameter should be used, to allow less resistance and help prevent a build-up of heat, he recommended.

“The maximum ratings of components, including that of inverters, batteries, solar panels and all connecting components should be carefully considered. All components within the system must be measured and calculated as part of a holistic solution and not exceed the maximum ratings of any other component within the solution.”

TimesLIVE

 

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