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Solar Power Systems Fire Risks Not Yet Fully Understood

Victoria’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade has responded to more than 40 fires that were caused by solar power systems in the last 5 years and warned that it would take years to understand the fire risk posed by lithium-ion battery storage.

The MFB said the solar installations were vulnerable to faults across their systems that include isolation switches, inverters, installed wiring and from deteriorating components.

This alarming figure came as solar battery storage industry pushes to kill new regulations that would make homeowners build a separate fire bunker housing for battery installations. Under the draft rules that were released by Standards Australia, lithium-ion batteries are classified as “Fire Class 1” and would not be allowed inside or within 1m of a domestic dwelling. The industry will have until August 15 to respond to the drafted regulations.

The drafted safety moves are designed to avoid the repeat of Labor’s insulation batts scheme where the rapid rollout of roof insulation in 2009 led to more than 200 house fires across Australia and resulted in 4 deaths.

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