Wayne Louth from Complete Energy Hervey Bay said people should be aware that solar systems need ongoing upkeep.
Wayne Louth from Complete Energy Hervey Bay said people should be aware that solar systems need ongoing upkeep. Alistair Brightman

Homeowners need to maintain solar

Fraser Coast homeowners are unwittingly putting themselves at risk if they refuse to maintain their solar systems.

The problems surfaced earlier this week when Hervey Bay fire crews were called to a rooftop blaze after solar panel wiring caught alight.

Fire fighters confronted a difficult task putting out the blaze and eventually needed to call one of the region's solar companies for assistance.

Power was cut and flames from the electrical fire extinguished, but the incident prompted a warning to be issued to Fraser Coast residents.

Solarlife general manager Victor Symons confirmed one of his electricians was called to the Urraween fire but said the system was installed by a local company that no longer operates.

He said the solar equipment was good quality and only about three years old but claimed a fault must have developed that was not addressed.

"If it was maintained a hot-spot would have been found straight away, but what I'm guessing is that it has sat there a long time…it hasn't been addressed, and if you keep something hot for a long time eventually it melts," Mr Symons said.

Mr Symons said his company used infrared technology to check the condition of a system and said regular maintenance would have led to a leak being identified.

Wayne Louth from Complete Energy Hervey Bay said people should be aware that solar systems need ongoing upkeep.

"They should definitely be checked once a year. The panels should be cleaned down because they sit off the roof a little there is potential for leaves and rubbish to get caught underneath them," Mr Louth said.

"We contact people after 12 months and offer them the service of getting them cleaned and checked, because connections can come loose."

Queensland Fire and Rescue Superintendent John Cawcutt said research was currently underway to assess if patterns can be found in solar-related fires.

He said no data showing reason for homeowners to be alarmed was available but suggested people act on the direction of solar industry professionals and maintain their system.



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