Solar power safety in QLD during a storm or flooding

When you install a solar power system on your home or business in Queensland, there is a ninety-nine percent chance that your system is connected to the grid. These systems produce electricity that flows from the solar panels to the inverter and then overflows to the grid.

If there is a black out in your area then your solar power system will automatically shut down and prevent electricity flowing into your home and the grid. This is a safety feature that modern solar inverters come standard with in order to protect our friends at Ergon and Energex.

How does cutting the power to the home protect the electricians?

If there is a blackout in your town or suburb, then there is a high possibility that there is a single fault that has caused the blackout. Ten years ago, before the solar boom, electricity was generated by  local power stations and travelled through routes until it reached homes and businesses. This being said, it was much easier to isolate the flow of electricity in the instance of a blackout, making it safe for the electricians to begin repairs on the damaged poles and wires.

Now there are hundreds, if not thousands of homes with rooftop solar panels in a single suburb. So if there is a blackout in a town or suburb, there is a nine out of ten chance that electricity is flowing in both directions. One being the power station and the other being the rooftop solar panels that are scattered throughout the district. Keeping this in mind, it would be very difficult for Ergon or Energex to knock on the door of every home that has solar panels and ask them to switch off their solar inverters. So to tackle this enormous task, the solar inverter manufacturers engineered an automatic cut off switch that cuts the flow of electricity in the instance of a blackout. Pretty clever right?

How to prepare for a flood or a storm in South East Queensland

Following the standard shutdown procedures provided by the installers or manufacturers is essential when preparing for an upcoming flood, storm or cyclone occurrence. The main shutdown procedures must be stationed at the inverter or the main switchboard. If you are unsure about how to do this, it is best to get in contact with the solar company, installer or the manufacturer of the inverter.

What to do after the storm hits

Never attempt to reconnect the PV solar systems right after a storm or cyclone if there is existing damage to the roof. The moisture can cause the system to be live and can electrocute you in the process. Inspect the system visually from a safe distance and ask a licensed electrical contractor or installer for assistance if there are any existing concerns. A CEC-accredited installer or electrical contractor can test or recommission the solar power system to ensure that it is safe. Upon switching the system back on, be sure to monitor the inverter to guarantee that the system continues to work properly.

During the floods

Never attempt to switch off a solar PV system during a flood. Doing so could possibly lead to shock or electrocution. Water conducts electricity guys so don’t be a cowboy. Stay clear and wait for the flooding to be over, then contact a licensed electrician or solar panel installer.

Also, do not assume the system is safe even if the supply has been disconnected by Ergon Energy or Energex. DC voltage can still be produced by the systems if there is daylight. Solar PV systems do not need mains power to generate electricity; thus, you need the services of a CEC-accredited installer or licensed electrical contractor to shut down the PV array completely to ensure your safety.

Advertisment - Learn more

After the flooding

Even when the flood water has receded, never attempt to operate switches because moisture left in the components can cause the PV systems to go live and you can suffer a fatal shock even if the mains power is not connected or turned on.

Only a CEC-accredited installer can recommission the system safely. There is a list of CEC-accredited solar installers on AustralianSolarQuotes.com.au. It is easy to find one in your area by simply searching through our free directory. If an installer is not available, a licensed electrical contractor may be contacted to make sure that the system is safe. The inverter should be replaced if the component has been submerged or partly submerged.

In conclusion. DON’T RISK IT! If you are unsure, it is more than likely not safe. Contact a professional and seek advice.

 

To reproduce this article, reference: 'article title', originally posted on 'Australian Solar Quotes' with link to this post. Learn more about our media guidelines.

 

Australian Solar Quotes is committed to providing our viewers with the latest renewable energy news, trends, technology advancements and more so stay in the loop by clicking here and subscribing to our free green-tech and solar energy newsletter.

 

Australian-Solar-Quotes-Social-Media-Platforms-Share-png

 

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

×

Mark from Hammond Park, Western Australia asked for 3 quotes for solar about 18 hours ago!

G from Burleigh Heads, asked for 3 quotes for solar about 18 hours ago!

Keith from Highfields, asked for 3 quotes for solar about 19 hours ago!

Leah from Marian, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 19 hours ago!

ray from Bargara, asked for 3 quotes for solar about 20 hours ago!

Robin from Maryborough, asked for 3 quotes for solar about 20 hours ago!

Alister from Euleilah, asked for 3 quotes for solar about 20 hours ago!

john from Sunshine Acres, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 20 hours ago!

ernie from Cannonvale, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 21 hours ago!

wayne from Oakey, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 21 hours ago!

Marilyn from Armstrong Beach, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 22 hours ago!

Erkin from Craigieburn, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar about 22 hours ago!

Felicity from Northcote, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar about 22 hours ago!

Tracy from Gracemere, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 22 hours ago!

Nic from Greenvale, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar about 23 hours ago!

Allan from Jensen, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar about 23 hours ago!

Heather from Mount Waverley, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

fina from Mount Sheridan, Queensland asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Tina from Point Cook, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!

Stephanie from Bundoora, Victoria asked for 3 quotes for solar 1 day ago!