Manufacturers and Installers of Solar Panels Face Unique Risks from Residential House Fires
House fires have always been a major source of product liability litigation in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of house fires occur each year, resulting in billions of dollars in insurance claims. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 487,500 structure fires in 2013 that resulted in $9.5 billion in property damage. As a result, insurance carriers and their fire investigation experts are well equipped to identify those fires that may present an opportunity for subrogation; i.e., those fires that could have been caused by a defective product or an improper installation of electrical wiring in the home.
At Wilson Elser, the Product Liability practice has attorneys who specialize in the field of fire investigation and in particular the investigation of electrical fires. We are paying close attention to the rapid increase in the use of solar panels to supply energy to homes. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 500,000 homes and businesses nationwide are equipped with solar panels. Experts forecast this market to grow exponentially in the future.