Auswell Energy shares what to do in the case of a nearby fire event.
Australia is now thawing out of its semi-cold winter months and into the intense heat of summer. Especially in QLD, this heat and the unrelenting sunlight means that your solar system will be working spectacularly well, converting energy like no other time of the year.
However, this season also brings about the more deadly side of the sun’s rays. Australia is known for having the most frequent and most devastating bushfires in the world. These can spring from nothing in barely a moment so safety measure and procedures should be in place long before the bushfire season.
Solar panels require very specific solar safety procedures that every solar panel owner should know if in a high-risk area. In this article, we’ll cover these procedures and solar safety tips when coming into the summer months.
Of the three levels of Bush Fire Alerts, the ‘Emergency Warning’ is the highest alert level. Any delay at all can put your lives at risk. You usually will have received prior alerts in the build-up to this warning, but in the case that you receive this alert out of the blue, waste no time.
While you might want to pack up the car with your belongings or practice solar safety and switch off your solar panel system, it isn’t as important as your life. Fires can spread much quicker than you think so act quickly and leave immediately.
Watch and Act
With a ‘Watch and Act’ alert, you have a bit more time to prepare yourselves. This means there’s a heightened threat level and conditions are changing. An important fact to note is that embers can travel over 10 kilometres from a nearby catastrophic bushfire, which, when put in contact with a solar system, may set the whole system on fire.
START SAVING WITH SOLAR
Solar safety procedures should be put in place immediately when notified of a nearby fire. A shut down of your solar panel system should be done as soon as possible to protect your home:
- Firstly, you should switch off the main solar supply switch on the switchboard, or instead turn off the AC isolator switch next to or under the solar inverter.
- Then, shut down the DC array PV isolator switches right after. There can be one or more so check carefully. These will most likely be found alongside the solar inverter.
- Then, make sure to watch out for further alerts on your phone or TV and prepare to leave as soon as a new alert is put out.
After returning home, make sure to examine your system carefully. If you suspect that your solar panels or wiring may have been damaged due to close proximity to fire or excessive heat, practice solar safety and don’t switch your system on just yet. We recommend you get in contact with the Auswell Energy team to have our professional installers take a look for damage and ensure everything is working as it should.
Ash fallout is a common after-effect of a bushfire and can travel just as far, if not further, than the embers that may have been flying before. This ash can leave a film of grit or soot across the solar panels and greatly decrease energy production. A good rainfall may dislodge most of the debris, but you shouldn’t rely on rain after a fire. Use a soft sponge or cloth and non-abrasive window cleaner to clear away the ash.
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