Fire and Resuce NSW – Solar System Fires

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Merrylands Fire and Rescue Station were called to a solar system fire yesterday, announced via their facebook page.

The Merrylands Station found solar panels and solar systems to be the cause of four fires in the last week alone. They report that this is an increase of more than 20% from last year.

Fire and Rescue NSW advises that solar panel related fires have increased by 80% of the last 5 years.

Solar isolation switches are the cause of almost half of all solar-panel related fires.

Merrylands has made a plea to the community to ensure their solar system complies with Australian Standards and use a reputable and accredited installer.

We have reported on the issue of compliance, accreditation and Australian Standards in our FAQ articles:

How long do solar panels last?
How do Australian Standards affect end of life?

In our article on Australian Standards we looked at AS/NZS 5033:2014 Amd 2:2018 as an example.

That amendment came into effect from 28th of June 2019.  It simplified the process of selecting an isolator (an electrical switch used for load breaking) and takes thermal requirements into consideration. 

The amendment outlines, in detail, new isolator product requirements and specifications that need to be met, ensuring they can operate effectively and safely in harsh Australian climates and hot weather.  It also introduces a new method for correctly sizing and selecting an isolator depending on the solar system requirements.  The amendment is important because it improves solar design and installation practices and reduces the risk of fire.

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