The Municipality of Tytsjerksteradiel, in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, has reported that a major fire occurred on May 20 at a warehouse located in the nearby village of Noardburgum.
According to a press release issued by the municipality,
The municipality said in a press release that it had received around 73 notifications from concerned residents in the surrounding area who were alarmed by the presence of PV module fragments on their properties.
“Thin, sharp parts of solar panels, which were on the roof of the warehouse, were released during the fire,” the town's authorities stated. “These particles have spread in an area of several kilometers around Noardburgum.”
They further explained that the sharp fragments pose a potential hazard, particularly to livestock. “We, therefore, advise livestock farmers to bring their livestock indoors. You can throw the particles away in the container yourself,” they added. “Grass contaminated with particles from solar panels is not suitable as feed for livestock.”
Residents have also formed initiatives to help clean up solar panel particles from farmland, the municipality said. “We understand that people want to help and we appreciate that but we ask everyone not to go into the fields to clean them up,” it stated, adding that farmers should rely on authorized companies for the removal of the fragments.
According to Urs Muntwyler, an expert on fire incidents in PV installations and CEO of Swiss engineering company Ingenieurbüro Muntwyler, the particles found by the residents, which are also seen in a picture published in the municipality press statement, are similar to those that he found after a fire occurred at a PV system located in Lanzenhäusern, Switzerland. “There are silicon particles,” he told pv magazine. ” I investigated them in a Raster-Elektronic-Microscope and I have ascertained this is mainly silicon, while the rest, such as the lead from the string, has evaporated.”
At the time, Muntwyler took the particles for examination to Samuel Kohler, a professor of veterinary medicine at the Bern University of Applied Sciences' School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Science in Zollikofen, Switzerland. Cows, which always take big chunks of grass in their mouths, could eat the particles with no problem, according to Kohler. “Other animals such as horses and sheep wouldn't even take these particles as they select everything they eat,” Muntwyler further explained, adding that the fragments found in the Netherlands may not be dangerous either, provided they come from crystalline silicon modules.
The fire incident was shown in a video published on the YouTube channel of local media outlet Noorden Nieuws.
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