Can a Solar Panel (PV) System be switched off?
Solar panels cannot be turned off when exposed to light. This means that the panels are always live and can potentially cause electrocution during an emergency situation. The only reliable means of rendering the panels safe is to use the ‘liquid blanket’ PVStop.
How safe is my Solar PV System?
LJW Solar conducts solar PV installations throughout Australia and must comply with best industry practices.
Despite regulations for circuit breakers and safety switches the panels themselves do not have an efficient shutdown process. During a fire or flood crisis the only way to render the panels safe is to use PVStop.
What is the DC Danger Zone?
The DC danger zone refers to the safety risk that solar panels pose. Solar panels cannot be turned off when exposed to light. In the event of a short circuit, fire or flood the solar panels continue to generate potentially lethal DC voltage. PVStop is currently the only safe way to deactivate panels.
How Does it Work?
The liquid blanket covers the solar panel and blocks the light from reaching the solar panel surface
Does PVStop need to cover the whole solar panel/solar panel array to switch off the solar panel system?
No. To reduce DC voltage to safe levels only a quarter of a panel needs to be covered. We recommend that you cover all panels to confirm minimal to zero solar generation.
How long does PVStop take to switch off my Solar Panel system?
PVStop can switch off a panel in seconds.
Can PVStop extinguish flames in a fire scenario?
Yes, PVStop is a fire retardant solution and is non-flammable.
Does PVStop work in all weather conditions?
Yes. PVStop works during all weather conditions.
Is PVStop easy to apply?
Yes. The PVStop delivery system is similar to a fire extinguisher: point and spray.
How long does it take for PVStop to dry?
PVStop touch-dries in five minutes. The liquid blanket will set overnight and can be peeled off the following day.
Are solar panel isolation switches safe?
When homeowners purchase solar they generally only think of the panels that go on the roof. Did you know, however, that solar PV installations in Sydney and throughout Australia comprise numerous components to enable the system to function?
One feature of a typical solar PV installation in Sydney and beyond is the AC and DC circuit breakers or isolators. These are switches that allow you to isolate your grid-connected system. The AC switch can isolate the inverter from the grid whereas the DC isolator prevents PV module direct current from feeding back to the inverter. This does not, however, turn the panels off because they will naturally continue to generate electricity so long as the sun is shining.
As the industry has evolved so too has the technology. Unfortunately there are brands and models of isolators that were installed and are now considered to be fire risks. Various rotary DC isolators for example have been identified as fire risks because they tend to arc internally and can start fires.
If you are unable to determine whether your solar PV installation in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide—anywhere in Australia—may contain a recalled product we recommend that you engage LJW Solar or any local CEC accredited installer to inspect.
The PVStop spray was designed to retard fire and to reduce panel DC voltage should a rooftop isolator pose a safety risk and require urgent attention.
How often should I check the inverter?
We recommend that you check the inverter at least once a week. Most inverters display the total number of cumulative kilowatts (KWH) that an inverter has produced as well as an instantaneous watts reading.
At a glance you should be able to see if the system is generating. If there is a problem with the inverter the display should show an event code.
If you are seeing the same total kilowatt reading (KWH) for two or more consecutive days and the weather has been ok there is definitely a problem somewhere. You may need to engage a CEC accredited technician to inspect.
Do panels require maintenance?
All Solar PV installations throughout Sydney—Australia—should be checked on a regular basis. The panel array should be mounted at an angle that is not only optimal for solar exposure but also ideal for self-cleaning via rainfall.
There are circumstances when a panel may require manual cleaning due to dust storms, inadequate rainfall or panel angle. If dirt and dust build up on the panel surface it will affect system performance, which is why it might be worthwhile engaging a roofer or third party to clean the panels.
Another important reason to visually inspect the panels is to check for cracks or any physical damages. A broken solar panel could become a safety issue depending on the severity of the damage.
One damaged panel can affect the performance of an entire string so it is important to deal with damages as soon as possible.
For your safety, and the safety of others, we recommend that all solar panel owners and emergency personnel should invest in PVStop—a ‘liquid blanket’ fire retardant solution that is the only effective means of shutting panels down and preventing potentially lethal electric shocks during fires and floods or maintenance situations.
If you have any solar PV installation concerns in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, anywhere in Australia, call us at LJW Solar or a local CEC accredited installer.