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Do-it-yourself solar installation fire prompts important Energy Safe reminder

Thursday 22 June 2023 at 2:06 am

A property fire in western Victoria has prompted an Energy Safe Victoria plea to always have solar battery systems installed by a licensed electrician.

Energy Safe compliance officers attended the property, located in the Grampians town of Mafeking, on 7 June after a fire started in a solar battery energy storage system, destroying a living room and bedroom.

The property owner, who is not a qualified A-Grade electrician, installed both the solar and battery system. He did not receive a Solar Victoria rebate to install either the solar PV system or the battery.

The fault appears to have occurred in a system controller, which reported an error message in the days before the fire.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson said the installation of solar and battery systems must be carried out by a licensed A-Grade electrician.

“Saving a few dollars by not employing a licensed electrician, heightens the risk of fire and electric shock putting lives and property at risk,” Ms Hughson said.  

Energy Safe and Solar Victoria launched the Show Your Solar Some Love campaign last year, highlighting the importance of having solar photovoltaic and battery systems serviced by a licensed A-Grade electrician.

Servicing involves electrical testing of the components that make up a solar panel system and the battery, as well as a thorough visual inspection to ensure the integrity of equipment and cabling. 

To find an accredited solar installer in your area visit cleanenergycouncil.org.au/consumers/buying-solar/find-an-installer.

From 1 July 2023, Solar Victoria will also require all authorised installers to fit a smoke alarm in the same room as a solar battery energy storage system.

For more information go to esv.vic.gov.au.

Solar Victoria has created an authorised retailer program. Visit solar.vic.gov.au/find-authorised-retailer.

Media contact: Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194