Some Australian households with solar systems are located in areas under threat from bushfires, floods and cyclones. These are usually in regional and rural areas, but can be in metro areas where isolated fires, floods and cyclones are possible.
If you have solar panels on your roof and are faced with an emergency fire, flood or cyclone situation, there are only two things you need to remember:
If your solar panels have suffered fire, flood or cyclone damage, attempting to turn them back on (including operating any switches) could result in a lethal electric shock. An accredited installer needs to check that your system is safe.
If you come across a solar system that may have been damaged in a flood, storm or bushfire, an accredited installer needs to inspect the system to ensure it is not dangerous.
Do not attempt to turn on the system after a storm or flood. Take care with solar equipment or structures which may have fire damage. Stay away from the solar panels and wiring until assessed as safe to approach.
Even if the network supply is turned off, solar systems and associated wiring may still be live; systems will continue to produce voltage during the day.
Ensure that any repairs to the system are electrically safe before it is recommissioned. This check needs to be done before other clean-up work starts around the modules and associated electrical wiring.
Once the system has been checked and is safe, follow the start-up procedure.
If you are planning for a possible fire, flood or cyclone, and are likely to receive a day or more warning to leave your house, there may be some extra precautionary measures you can take.
You can follow the 'shutdown procedure' when leaving your house. This should be marked on your inverter or meter box.
A general guide to the procedure is as follows:
Some stand-alone solar power systems may include battery storage that can also be disconnected.
You can take the following steps to shut down your stand-alone solar system and battery storage:
For further information on fire, flood and cyclone emergency management plans, contact your local emergency services.