When you’re thinking about installing solar, where does safety fit into your decision-making process?
You’ll likely read a lot about kWh and feed-in tariffs, and you’ll probably get a good grasp of the potential savings of a system. But what about safety?
If you’re looking at traditional solar technology (perhaps one of those 6.6kW systems with tier one panels and free Wi-Fi)… probably not. And that’s a missed opportunity for an important conversation.
When you look at the Enphase home energy solution, you’ll see why safety matters. Put simply: Enphase is one of the safest home solar technology.
Fire Risks From Older Solar Technology
Unfortunately, fire safety concerns have dampened the solar energy conversation of late. There have been concerns over the regulations that govern the quality of system installations and equipment standards.
Solaray is leading the way in an industry-wide pushback against ‘cheap solar’. Safer Solar reported that around two fires a week are caused by issues related to DC solar power systems. They predict a rise in this figure as existing systems begin to age, and the rate of installations continues to increase.
Fortunately, the solar industry as a whole wants to boost its safety record. They are seeking to improve equipment standards and bring installation quality in line with best practices from around the globe.
Rapid Shutdown and DC Isolators
Brought on by an increase in demand for rooftop solar over the last decade, first responders responsible for tackling the house fires firsthand pushed for a solution that incorporated safe emergency access.
The authorities in the U.S and Australia both mandated responses to the issue but came up with different solutions. Australia opted for a rooftop DC isolator which is a manually controlled switch, which was introduced in 2012. The U.S decided on rapid shutdown requirements which they implemented in the 2014 National Electrical Code.
Rooftop DC isolators require first responders to gain access to the rooftop and then manually turn off the power. This method presents numerous challenges and is made increasingly complicated by the uncertain conditions of rooftop structures during a fire. Safety issues are also further exacerbated by the cabling which keeps its 600-volt DC charge, even after the switch is activated.
In contrast, rapid shutdown quickly and efficiently removes the charge from solar panels. It eliminates the change of electrocution and keeps emergency service staff safe.
Australia has a safer AC solar solution available
The bureaucratic nature of standards and guidelines means that they can take time to implement. Solaray wholly supports any steps towards making the industry safer and making Australia a leader in best practices.
However, homeowners don’t need to wait for new regulations to make the jump to a safer home. A more reliable solution is already available.
Enphase IQ microinverter systems are an AC solution that doesn’t present the same threat as DC. Rapid shutdown comes built-in, which provides a far safer solar solution for Australian homeowners.
The U.S National Electrical code is currently the gold-standard of international solar safety regulation and something the Australia industry is working hard towards matching. Enphase IQ microinverters meet and exceed these regulations, providing one of the safest solutions on the market.
The best option for your home and family
The reliability and safety concerns of traditional DC systems mean that opting for Enphase microinverters is the ideal way to guarantee peace of mind when installing a solar system.
But safety is only one part of the story. Enphase solar systems offer improved performance thanks to panel-level output as the DC-AC conversion happens underneath each panel. More information is available here: Enphase Solar Power Systems