According to The West Australian, faulty panels/inverters or badly installed PV solar systems have caused fires at more than 20 residences in WA over the past 24 months. Solar panel safety is becoming a major issue as the huge rise in solar installations leads to quality concerns.
The Australian reports that in Queensland, which has one of Australia’s highest uptakes of solar, firefighters attended at least 64 premises where a fire was sparked by shoddy workmanship or cheap panels. Already in 2017 they have attended at least 16 solar panel fire incidents.
What can you do to minimise this risk?
Solar panel safety – what to look out for
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a solar system is that cheapest means that compromises in quality have been made, and that installation will probably also be sub standard.
Jay Cutler, board member of the National Electrical Contractors Association said that a solar panel fire is generally caused by poorly trained workers using cheap products.
“Quality product and quality installations by recognised and experienced installers, (and) the risk is minimal, that is the same for all electrical work,” Mr Cutler said.
“Start cutting corners and getting the cheap jobs and that’s when the risk increases enormously … Lithium-ion batteries are good products if they are manufactured well and if they are installed correctly. “But if you start getting down in the gutter at the lower end of the market the consequences are (large)…(because) the industry is fairly new it is clear that there are a lot of (installers) early on the learning curve.”
Quality modern solar power systems (like those that LG Energy sell) have multiple safety systems built in – cut offs witches and circuit breakers can be located on the roof next to the panel, alongside the inverter, and/or on the meter board itself. In addition to this any quality inverter will also have its own internal safety cutoffs.