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Natural Disaster and Solar Power

Here in Far North Queensland we are no strangers to Mother Nature. It’s a stunning part of the country up here and she sure knows how to put on a show. Sometimes that means that we also are faced with the more difficult weather conditions.

Did you know that even if the network supply is turned off, solar systems and associated wiring may still be live? That means that your solar system could continue to produce voltage during the day.

Switching your Solar to the “off” position is not enough to protect your property so here are some helpful hints to help you in a weather event.

Fire, Flood and Cyclone Emergency Situations

The Clean Energy Council of Australia advises that there are only two things to remember;

  1. If you need to evacuate, leave your house immediately
  2. Upon returning to your house, do not attempt to turn your solar power system back on. Contact your Clean Energy Council-accredited installer to have your system recommissioned. If your installer is not available, contact a licensed electrician who can check your system to ensure it is safe.

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.

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.

Fire, Flood and Cyclone in Non-Emergency Situations

Make sure that when preparing your property for a weather event you include preparing your solar power system.

The Clean Energy Council of Australia provides these guidelines;

Grid-connected systems

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:

  • Turn off the solar supply mains switch (this is usually found in the meter box)
  • Turn off the normal supply main switch (this is usually found in the meter box)
  • Turn off the PV array isolator (this is usually found next to the inverter)

Stand-alone systems

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:

  1. Turn off the solar array
  2. Turn off the inverter
  3. Follow the battery shutdown procedures to isolate the battery bank
  4. Disable the generator from starting if it has auto start.

For more advice on keeping your family safe from Solar in a natural disaster, contact us now.

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