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Safety Measures for Roof Top Solar Power Systems during Severe Weather Events

Rooftop Solar Power Systems are connected to the normal power supply in homes and institutions. Once exposed to sunlight the PV modules of the systems can continue to generate power and send it up to the inverter even if the grid supply has been disrupted/disconnected. Thus solar PV systems pose an electrical safety risk for residents as well as emergency crews in times of severe weather events such as storms, cyclones and floods.

CAUTION: Under sunlight the modules and their cables should be treated as if they are live.

Safety Measures
  • Preparing for a severe weather event

    When preparing for a storm, cyclone or flood event, it is important to shutdown the systems. For shutting down the following procedure should be followed:
    1. Turn off the inverter AC mains isolator.
    (this is usually found before the meter box)
    2. Turn off the PV array isolator.
    (this is usually found before the inverter or provided in the main array junction box either on the rooftop or before the inverter )
    3. Protect the PV array from flying debris.
    If you are unsure of the shutdown procedure or the location of the isolators, contact the installer.

  • After a storm or cyclone

    1. Do not attempt to reconnect solar PV systems if your property has suffered roof damage. Your roof may be live or residual moisture might have kept the system live.
    2. Visually inspect the system in a safe way, and if concerned, call the installer or a licensed electrical contractor.

  • During a flood

    1. In case of a flood, if you find any component of the system under water or in wet conditions, do not attempt to turn off a solar PV system. This could result in a fatal electric shock.
    2. Do not approach the system if parts are submerged, and if forced onto a rooftop to avoid floodwater, keep well away from solar panels and wiring.
    3. Do not assume your system to be safe if grid supply has been disconnected. The systems can still produce DC voltage while there is daylight.
    WARNING: Solar PV systems do not require mains power to generate a DC supply. A licensed electrician or the installer may be contacted to fully shut down the PV array, to ensure safety.

  • After a flood

    1. Following receding flood waters, do not attempt to operate any switches as residual moisture may have caused solar PV systems to become live.
    2. You could potentially suffer a serious or fatal electric shock, even if mains power is disrupted.
    3. Contact your installer to re-commission the system for you. If an installer is not available, contact a licensed electrical contractor for the purpose.
    4. Ensure that the solar PV system inverter is replaced if it has been submerged or partly submerged.
    REMEMBER: Do not reconnect any solar PV systems unless your installer or a licensed electrical contractor has certified the installation is safe. And treat all solar PV installations as energised.

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