A fire truck parked on the side of a small road with another truck further down the road

Why rain and rooftop solar can be an incendiary mix

Sunshine Coast woman Kathy Sundstrom was at the local beach with her husband when her teenage daughter called to report smoke coming from their solar power system.

“We were like, ‘Oh you know, it’s gonna be okay.’ We were enjoying the beach. We hadn’t seen the sun in so long,” Ms Sundstrom said.

When the Sundstroms’ eldest son called moments later, they knew the situation could be more serious.

“He was a little more panicked and he said, ‘Should we call the fire department? “”

“Even though we had shut off the main power and with the isolation switch, the solar apparently continues to occur on your roof, this is the number of solar fires that tend to start.”

Ms Sundstrom says she hates to think about what might have happened if her family hadn’t been home at the time and her children hadn’t noticed smoke billowing from the box. isolation at the side of their house.

Kathy Sundstrom returned home to find firefighters containing a fire in her solar system’s isolation switch.(Provided: Kathy Sundstrom)

Firefighters who witnessed the incident told the family that recent wet weather had allowed water to enter the insulated box.

She said the box was located under a roof next to the main power box.

“There’s a cover, it’s not just an open box.

“They said if they hadn’t come it could have been much worse because having turned it off [at the mains] does not prevent electricity generation on the roof,” Ms. Sundstrom said.

Rooftop power plant

Jock Howard, Sunshine Coast solar company owner who has worked in the industry since 1987, says wet weather can affect solar system insulators.

Mr Howard said weeks of rain could cause water to seep into cracks and bad seals, to a point where it could reach the system insulator, causing sparks and burns.

“If you have water in your insulation box, you’re essentially creating an electrical reaction using the water as a conductor between positive and negative,” he said.

Two men install solar panels on the roof of a house.
Jock Howard says regular testing is key to safety.(Pixabay: Maria Godfrida)

As these wires corrode, they can snap and create a spark and burn the plastic parts.

Mr Howard said the best way to prevent a fire from a solar system was to have it checked regularly.

#rain #rooftop #solar #incendiary #mix

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *