MELISSA (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’ve ever thought about having solar panels installed on your home, one Melissa resident wants you to know there is a rare possibility they could catch fire. It happened to him last month.
“These neighborhoods… we have a lot of people who come by who are salesmen and they want to sell us their solar panels,” Austin Nathaniel said.
Just over a year ago, his neighbor decided to do business with one.
“So I waited a year to see what he thought about them,” Nathaniel said. “Are they a good company? Is he getting what he thought? He loved it so I went with the company.”
He said at first his experience was great, but then about four months in he got a call from a neighbor telling him to get home right away because some of the solar panels were on fire.
“They contacted another guy who ran and cut the power off and jumped up on the roof with a hose and actually sprayed it off,” Nathaniel said. “My child sleeps right underneath that, which is terrifying.”
Nathaniel said when firefighters arrived, they noted two of the solar panels had caught fire.
“They said that if my neighbor hadn’t gotten to it my house would’ve burned down,” Nathaniel said.
Sherrie Wilson, Dallas’ first female firefighter who retired after decades of service, said cases like this one are incredibly rare.
“There’s about 1 in every 10,000 is what NFPA and some of the other sources that I’m looking at are saying,” she said.
She has some advice to trying to prevent this from occurring.
“I think using a reputable provider is going to be your first most important thing, but you know you can have power surges, voltage, faulty products,” she said.
As for Nathaniel, he said he’s still trying to work with the company that installed the panels and is waiting for the situation to be resolved.
“Even if they fix this problem, it’s still going to be difficult turning these panels back on,” he said.