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Townsville floods – Sparkies issue urgent solar panel safety warning

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today issued an urgent safety warning to residents in Townsville and surrounding areas affected by devastating flood waters to be extremely careful around solar panel installations.

MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said that solar panels continue to produce electricity during a flood event, even if the power supply has been cut off and the panels turned off at the switchboard.

“Homeowners who are forced onto their roof due to flooding need to be extremely careful around solar panels as they present a real electrical safety risk,” Mr Richards said.

“Even if the network supply is turned off, solar panels still produce electricity and the associated wiring is also live.

“This is a very serious threat to potentially thousands of homeowners in and around Townsville and has the potential to cause death or serious injury if people come into contact with the wiring to the panels.

“Flood-affected residents can use the shutdown instructions to safely turn off the isolation switches located next to the Solar Inverter and these instructions are usually located on the switchboard.

“If you’re unsure of anything we urgently recommend engaging a fully qualified electrician. Where a solar PV system has been flood inundated, an electrician can check the system and safely isolate water-damaged components.

“It is vital that residents ensure that the system is electrically safe before it is recommissioned.”

MEA has also launched a free hotline to connect home owners affected by flooding with local electricians. Residents affected should phone 1300 889 198 and a contractor will assist them to get back on the grid quickly and safely.

A flood repair fact sheet has also been release that provides detailed information for residents affected and a link can be found here: https://www.masterelectricians.com.au/blog/master-electricians-issue-electrical-safety-warning-following-townsville-floods