Solar Panel Fire Investigation


In potential product liability losses involving equipment and machinery, the Investigative Engineer will occasionally be asked to ascertain whether the product or equipment contains an “inherent defect”, arising as a consequence of poor design, faulty material, improper assembly or retrofit alteration.   Often the equipment did not malfunction, but operator error or poor maintenance caused the accident.  These are also important factors which must also be considered.

Photo from solar panel fire investigation.
Photo from solar panel fire investigation.

Initial Investigations:

In analyzing product failures, several important facts must be determined.

  • Mode of failure
  • Cause of failure
  • Determination of how the product was  being used at the time of failure
  • Determination of similar failures of the same or similar products
  • Determination of industry standards


Failed products must be carefully inspected and secured; I-ENG-A® members are cautioned to perform only non-destructive testing.  Invasive and/or destructive testing is performed only with all parties present. Products are photographed and tested to evaluate:

  • Alterations to the product.
  • Appropriate warnings, instructions and safety alert symbols.
  • Inherently defective products.
  • Improper use of the product.


I-ENG-A® affiliates offer their clients easily understood written reports stating conclusively the cause-effect relationship surrounding a  particular failure.  I-ENG-A® members are well equipped to be prepared for courtroom testimony with demonstrations and models as necessary.

Forensic Engineering Association