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Oz Solar Energy Systems More Prone To Fires Than US: Report

ADELAIDE: Lagging safety regulations in Australia are allowing the use of high-voltage DC systems, which are responsible for two solar-related fires each week, according to a report by US-based Enphase Energy.

The Enphase report, dubbed A Comparison of Australian and US Residential Solar Markets, says Australian solar energy systems cost about half the price of those in the US, but asks if they are as safe.

US guidelines include strict requirements on weatherproofing enclosures, rapid shutdown in the case of a grid outage, wiring, “and much more,” the report says.

It adds: “In NSW alone, there is a 20 percent increase in fires related to solar panels since last year, with more than 50 percent caused by DC isolators. Since they’re connected to high-voltage systems, DC isolators also pose an electrocution risk for maintenance or emergency personnel”.

Natch, Emphase recommends its own microinverters, which it says come standard with a rapid shutdown feature and run low-voltage alternating current.

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