Energy Safe Victoria and Solar Victoria are reminding Victorians to ensure the safety of their solar photovoltaic (PV) systems by getting them serviced every two years.
The agencies launched the Show Your Solar Some Love campaign last year, highlighting the risk of solar PV system fire and/or failure when not serviced regularly by a licensed A-Grade electrician.
Hot and cold temperatures, wind, rain and other extreme weather events can cause damage and wear to solar PV installations. Servicing mitigates this risk, ensuring they are working safely and efficiently.
In 2022, Energy Safe investigated 44 solar PV system fires, the majority of which occurred in systems that had not been serviced within the previous two years.
Energy Safe audits have found a major cause of solar PV system fires was moisture impacting DC isolators – a switch that stops electricity flowing through the system in emergency situations.
Victorian Government research shows that fewer than half of Victorians are aware of the importance of servicing their solar PV systems.
Servicing involves electrical testing of the components that make up a solar panel system, as well as a thorough visual inspection to ensure the integrity of equipment and cabling.
It also includes the clearing of debris or leaf litter under the solar panels and around the inverter.
Victorians should also beware of so-called cottage industries – unlicensed workers offering solar cleaning or maintenance.
ESV CEO Leanne Hughson said solar PV systems needed to be maintained the same way cars needed to be serviced, to ensure they always run safely.
“Unfortunately, Energy Safe regularly investigates fires that could have been prevented if the solar PV system had undergone regular servicing,” Ms Hughson said.
“We encourage Victorians using solar to ensure their systems are serviced by a licensed A-Grade electrician at least once every two years.”
Solar Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said it was important for homeowners to set up a maintenance plan, in collaboration with their solar retailer, to ensure their system was operating properly, safely and efficiently.
“All installations conducted under the Solar Homes Program are required to adhere to quality and safety standards including the use of authorised retailers, installers and approved product lists,” Mr Krpan said
“We take safety seriously and make no apologies for this. Our Notice to Market will be issued shortly which strengthens these requirements even further.”
There are currently more than 655,000 solar PV systems installed across Victoria with 53,000 installed in 2022.
Reviewed 10 May 2023