Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning flood victims with solar panel installations to stay well clear when returning to their homes and businesses.
Mr Stowe said there were possible electrical hazards with solar panels or photovoltaic arrays (PV arrays), which can generate an electrical current regardless of whether or not the electrical supply from the state grid has been turned off.
‘Home owners should be aware that solar panels can continue to generate electricity during daylight hours,’ he said.
‘If you are unsure about the state of your solar panel installation, contact the installer or get the advice of a licensed electrician. Do not turn on the equipment without checking first.’
Mr Stowe said when inverter or switching gear was immersed in water, electrical arcing was highly probable within the equipment.
‘If this arcing is left unchecked, it may lead to a fire,’ he said. ‘Solar panels will generate potentially lethal voltages during daylight hours and these voltages will be present in all cables between the array and the inverter.’
People are advised to get any electrical items affected by water checked by a licensed electrician before using them.