MELISSA, Texas (KTVT) – A Texas father is warning others about solar panels, saying there’s a rare possibility that they could catch fire, like his did.
Austin Nathaniel decided to get solar panels installed on his home a year after his neighbor did. He went with the same company his neighbor had used because the other man had a great experience.
At first, Nathaniel says his experience was also great. But about four months in, he got a call from a neighbor telling him to get home right away because some of his 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 out. My child sleeps right underneath that, which is terrifying,” Nathaniel said.
When firefighters arrived, they noted two of the panels had caught fire and said, “that if my neighbor hadn’t gotten to it when he did, my house would have burned down,” according to Nathaniel.
“They seemed to think it was pretty obvious,” he said.
About four months after getting solar panels installed, Austin Nathaniel says two of them caught fire. Firefighters told him his house would have burned down, if not for neighbors who stepped in.(Source: Austin Nathaniel, KTVT via CNN)
Sherrie Wilson, Dallas’ first female firefighter who retired after decades of service, says cases like this one are incredibly rare. They occur in about 1 in every 10,000 cases, according to the National Fire Protection Association and other sources.
Wilson 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, overvoltage, faulty products,” she said.
As for Nathaniel, 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.
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