Technical Corner

Recreation Facility Roof Top Solar Panel Risks

June 29, 2023

Recreation facilities have a significant amount of roof real estate that can be used to house solar panels. These installations present a perception of the building being environmentally friendly while generating financial resources to off-set the cost of operations. The installation is often out of sight resulting in a lack of inspection and maintenance. Solar panels do need to be cleaned to ensure they perform at the highest level possible. Facility management must determine who is responsible for maintaining these panels and build the inspection and maintenance into the building’s asset operational and management plans. A quick internet search will discover that these systems do fail, often catching fire. [More

The three most common issues that pose a potentially immediate fire risk include:

  • Wires on sharp edges
  • Poor terminations in inverters/heavy scoring on wires
  • Improperly made or mismatched/cross mated connectors

Each of these issues can operate uninterrupted for extended periods while posing a potentially immediate fire risk. Each can easily be identified by performing an in-depth system-off (de-energized) visual inspection. It is also recommended that facility management update emergency plans to include these installations and train staff accordingly. Intact Public Entities (IPE) offers the following resource on the topic: Risk Management Considerations for Rooftop Solar Panels (

    Comments and/or Questions may be directed to Terry Piche, CRFP, CIT and Director, Training, Research and Development, Ontario Recreation Facilities Association

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