Submitted by Andrew on Wed, 03/02/2021 - 13:20
Bushfire protocols

Here is our guide on what to do with your Solar PV system if you find yourself within or neighbouring a bushfire zone.

If you are evacuating

If the time has come, and you need to leave your home, your safety is the priority. If you are advised to evacuate immediately, do not remain to shut down your solar system, depart as soon as possible. If you are advised to leave the area, or are in a “watch and wait” zone, please commence an orderly shutdown of your solar PV system as explained below.

  • Switch off the solar supply main switch in the switchboard or, if there isn’t one, instead turn off the AC isolator switch which should be next to, or below the solar inverter.
  • Turn off all DC array PV isolator switches (there can be more than one) around the solar inverter.

If this advice is not relevant to your system, check out our support page covering various methods of turning off solar energy systems.

If the fire is nearby but you are not in immediate danger

If you are in a "Watch and Act" zone, or if your neighbourhood is experiencing debris/ ash fallout from the fire zone, then shut down your system as per our shutdown instructions explained above.  Embers can affect your Solar PV system, it is best to be proactive and secure your system whilst it is still safe to do so.

Returning home

If you suspect there may be damage caused by fire, excessive heat exposure due to close proximity to the fire or significant ash fallout, we would recommend having your system checked by a CEC accredited installer before turning the system back on to ensure that it is in working order.

Ash and soot on panels

Following a fire, the ash fallout can be carried a significant distance outside of the fire zone.  Which can leave a film and residue of ash and soot across your roof and panels.  In most instances, a good rainfall would be sufficient to remove any contaminants from the panels.  In dry, dusty conditions it is possible to simulate rainfall using a standard water hose from the ground.  

We do not recommend getting on the roof to clean your panels.  Do not use high-pressure hoses, do not use bore water, do not use abrasive cleaning agents or tools as this will damage the panel film.

If you are not confident doing this or are unable to reach your roof, contact a CEC accredited installer to conduct the clean for you, many will do this while inspecting your panels.

The most important thing to consider during this fire season is you and your family’s safety. If you have been displaced by any bushfires and need support, please visit the National Bushfire Recovery Agency for a list of available support resources.  If you have any questions about the topic of this blog post, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300 73 93 55, we’ll be happy to assist.