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Green Energy >> Green Energy Talk >> Safety concerns with plywood backing for your solar setup

Message started by electron on Apr 14th, 2011 at 8:47am

Title: Safety concerns with plywood backing for your solar setup
Post by electron on Apr 14th, 2011 at 8:47am
Hey, what's with the plywood anyway?

Who came up with the idea of sticking everything on the wall and on plywood? Does anyone worry about fire?

I know even back in the 50's they used to mount electric boxes and stuff on plywood on the back of old houses, do you think that's where it started?

And what about weather? I've seen those old houses and that board is warped and cracking.

OK, so most solar setups are inside a garage or room, normally near your batteries, which are protected from weather, so that's probably not a big problem.

You should be using "fireretardant-treated plywood panels with grade C-D plugged Exposure 1, in thickness indicated on Contract documents or, if not otherwise indicated, not less than 15/32 inch (11.9 mm) thick." according to some codes.

This is of course only fire retardant, not fire proof. And you can't get it at Home Depot so it's something you have to go find.

Most standard electrical stuff is contained in metal boxes, like your standard house breaker box. And that would help prevent any fire from spreading since it would probably be contained in the box until it went out.

Solar stuff is generally in the open, even the wires. And they carry a lot more current than normal house wiring.

So there is a safety concern for solar installs, maybe this needs more thought.

I was thinking that the wood that cabinet makers use would be good. It has a stick on piece of plastic laminate and you can put a 700F soldering iron against it and it does not melt. Some fold up tables use the same sort of laminate.

I wonder if you could laminate a piece of plywood and get the same protection?

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Title: Re: Safety concerns with plywood backing for your solar setup
Post by helloman1976 on Apr 14th, 2011 at 9:00am
I mount everything with plywood because it burns easier and you need a good burn if you want to collect insurance checks. I'm just kidding, people use it because you get 2x4's and used plywood for 79 cents in the used bin and a small 6"x6' mounting box is $30 dollars.

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