Solar panel safety and reducing fire risk
The uptake of solar panels is heating up in Australia as more Aussies look to reduce their energy bill and tap into the sun’s natural energy.
With solar being a hot-button topic in the media, you may have seen recent reports of solar panels catching fire. Whilst uncommon, it can happen.
Not to worry, you can take steps in ensuring your home is safe, check out our tips below.
Choosing an appropriate installer
Clean Energy Council (CEC) provides accreditation to solar installers. Accreditation means that the installer demonstrates competence in the design and installation of stand-alone and grid-connected solar PV systems.
You can check if your installer is accredited on the CEC website.
Know your product
If you had your solar panels installed a few years ago, it’s a good idea to check to see if any of the products have been recalled.
You can find the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recall list here. If you’re product is on the list, reach out to your installer to see what next steps are available to you.
Installation and maintenance checklist
Here is a list of what you can check for during installation that solar market has created:
- Inverters and isolators aren’t placed in direct sunlight for long durations
- Isolators and other parts don’t have any electrically exposed entries that could be damaged by rain
- Cabling is neat and out of the way
- Your inverter is set to detect any issues (ask this when your installer arrives, and make sure you understand if any issue is detected, what it would look like)
Maintaining your system is beneficial to not only checking the safety of your system but also the performance.
Organise a licensed electrician to turn off your system and inspect your solar panels, whilst they are inspecting your system you can also ask them to lightly clean away any dirt or remove any leaves that created shading across your solar panels.
Impacted by natural disasters?
If you have been impacted by a natural disaster organise to have your system thoroughly checked prior to use. Clean Energy Council provide the following information:
"Upon returning to your house, do not attempt to turn your solar power system back on. Contact your Clean Energy Council-accredited installer to have your system recommissioned. If your installer is not available, contact a licensed electrician who can check your system to ensure it is safe".
The Clean Energy Council outlines that attempting to turn on your system “could result in a lethal electric shock”.
Noting, that even if the network supply is turned off, solar systems and associated wiring may still be live, with the system continuing to produce voltage.
Clean Energy Council: https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/consumers/natural-disasters-and-emergencies
Solar Market: https://www.solarmarket.com.au/blog/safety-and-inspections-for-solar-systems/