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Solar panel safety during the flood clean up

Queensland's Electrical Safety Office is warning residents and tradespeople about the electrical safety risks posed by solar panels in flooded or storm damaged areas.
 
Many houses and businesses have solar panels installed on their roofs which can present electrical safety risks unless care is taken. If there is a solar power generating system at the premise, avoid getting on the roof unless absolutely necessary and keep well away from solar panels, the inverter and associated cables.

Even if the network supply is turned off, solar panels will continue producing electricity during the day and the PV cells and associated wiring will be live. Extra care must be taken with the electrical wiring between the solar panels and inverter. The PV system should be disconnected from the solar panels by an electrical contractor prior to this work being carried out.  

If a solar PV system has been in flood water, an electrical contractor will need to check the system and safely isolate water-damaged components. The electrical contractor will ensure the system is electrically safe before it is re-commissioned. This needs to be done before work commences in the area of the PV cells and associated electrical wiring.

Where flood water has entered electrical equipment, the manufacturer's advice should be sought on how it can be made electrically safe before it is re-energised. If this advice is not available, the equipment should be replaced or disconnected prior to re-energisation of the electrical installation/equipment. 

If a safety switch is disconnected for this purpose it must be replaced before circuits protected by it are energised.

As a general rule, always treat electrical cabling as if it is live.

For more information on electrical safety during flood clean-ups, visit www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au or call 1300 362 320.

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Last reviewed
6 February 2013
Last updated
5 November 2015
 
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