Warning after solar panel fire

QUICK action by firefighters stopped an electrical fire spreading through the roof of an Auburn home.

Responding to a Triple Zero (000) call about a roof alight on Graham Street just after 9am on Tuesday, March 30, fire crews arrived to find solar panel wiring arcing on the roof and the isolation switch alight.
Fortunately they were able to turn off the power to panels, and render the area safe.
However the incident led to a warning from superintendent Graham Kingsland from the Fire Investigation and Research Unit who said it was important to take steps to ensure solar panels were as safe as possible.
“Over the last five years we have seen solar panel related fires increase five-fold. It is not uncommon to see solar panels cause house and building fires,” he said.
“By ensuring solar panels are installed by a licensed installer, and are well maintained by a professional, you can prevent a tragedy.”
In August last year, Fire and Rescue NSW warned about a 20 per cent jump in fires related to solar panels compared to the same period in 2019, and that solar isolation switches caused almost half those incidents.
At the time, Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb said it was essential to use a qualified contractor to install panels and she also recommended to always do a licence check on the Fair Trading NSW website before any work took place.
“If you’re considering installing solar panels at your property, any system you install needs to comply with Australian standards,” she said.