Germany, Austria hit by multiple solar battery fires linked to LG


From pv magazine Germany

There were multiple reports of fires involving batteries connected to residential PV systems in Germany and Austria in September. Pv magazine has learned about five such incidents in the latter half of the month, with three occurring in Germany and two in Austria.

The most recent incident occurred on Sept. 29 in Kleinkahl, Germany. According to the fire department report, a single-family home experienced heavy smoke due to a technical malfunction that blew up the power storage unit of a PV system. The incident report stated that the room housing the electricity storage unit was affected.

Firefighters initially extinguished the blaze, while safely cooling the battery in a container to prevent reignition. High-performance fans were used to clear toxic fire smoke from the house. Although no one was injured, the residence is currently uninhabitable due to extensive smoke and soot damage.

Images from the fire brigade suggest that the battery may have been a product from South Korean manufacturer LG. This would make it similar basement fire in Kochel am See, Germany, on Sept. 19.

“In the basement, a heavily smoking battery was discovered in the technical room, presumably from a PV system,” said the Kochel department. “The battery was disconnected and transported outside.”

It was then submerged in water in a steel container outdoors and cooled. The residents were not at home at the time of the incident. In this case too, no people were harmed.

A third incident occurred on Sept. 26 in Ehrenfriedersdorf, Germany. The fire department provided medical care to two individuals and a nearby highway had to be shut down as a result. It did not disclose any details regarding the origin of the storage unit.

Austria, meanwhile, was also hit by a number of solar-related fires around the same time. One incident occurred on Sept. 24 in an allotment garden settlement in Altach, Austria. When firefighters arrived, they found a shelter and an attached building fully engulfed in flames, along with an agricultural transport vehicle inside the shelter.

The fire department quickly extinguished the fire, with no injuries reported. The cause of the fire was determined to be a defective PV battery storage unit at the rear of the caravan.

On the same day, the Feldkirchen fire department in Carinthia, Austria, responded to a cellar fire. The storage model involved in this incident is not clear from the pictures taken by the emergency services. According to a local media report, residents of the home were awakened by a loud bang just before midnight, and the basement of the house caught fire.

The report suggests that the fire may have been caused by a short circuit in a PV system that ignited the batteries. One resident was taken to the Klagenfurt Clinic for smoke inhalation.

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