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November 17, 2023

Are your Isolator switches putting your house at risk?

Are your Isolator switches putting your house at risk?

DC isolators are the leading cause of unsafe Photovoltaic solar systems in Australia. With isolators installed before 2014 being considered unsafe in 1-3% of inspections. So what can you do to protect your home and what is causing these problems?

Causes for Unsafe Solar Systems

A report released by Energy Safe Victoria outlines the most common causes for the failure of DC isolators. This report found two major causes for DC isolators being rendered unsafe upon inspection:

  1. Water Ingress: This can be brought about by either rainwater getting into the isolator unit (most commonly roof-mounted systems) or condensation from air getting inside the system during the day and cooling down overnight. Once the water is inside the isolator it begins to corrode the system. This corrosion increases the resistance of the system causing it to heat up and either; Melt the system open disconnecting the panel array circuit from the home or, weld the system closed which can cause the isolator to combust.
  2. Incorrect Installation: Incorrectly and non-compliant installation of a solar system will increase the stressors on the system and the risk of catastrophic failure of the system. Some things to look out for are; DC cables that are resting or rubbing against the roof and panels overhanging the sides of the roof or not secured to the roof.

Solar DC Isolator Failure

What to Do If You Notice Any of These Risks?

If you notice that your solar system is no longer working as well or at all or you notice anything of concern turn the system off if safe to do so. Once your system is off contact a Clean Energy Council-accredited electrician to inspect your system ensure that it is safe and make any repairs needed.

How Can I Minimise My Risk?

So how can you minimise or avoid these risks altogether? Well, there are a few simple steps to avoid these risks.

  1. Regular Inspections: It is recommended that you have a licensed solar technician inspect and undertake regular maintenance of your solar system. These checks allow an expert to replace any parts needed and ensure that the system is running as efficiently as possible.
  2. Know What's Going on With Your System: There are several things that you can do to ensure your solar system is running as it should be. These are: Monitor the outputs of your system, regularly check data screens for error messages and inspect the panel for debris.

For more information on these inspections and the importance of regular maintenance of your solar systems click here.

If you are in need of a local Clean Energy Council-accredited solar technician in the Sydney area Powerix is your one-stop shop. Contact our team today!