New Solar Panel Fire Rating Regulations in Australia

From July 16 this year, all makes and models of solar panels installed in Australia will need to have passed a new fire safety test.

Safety standard AS5033 will  require IEC61730-2 compliance; which consists of two elements – the Spread of Flame Test and the Burning Brand Test.

The testing relates to how solar panels react to external fires, such as those experienced in bushfire conditions – a situation Australia is all too familiar with.

The Spread of Flame Test consists of a gas flame being directed over the surface of  PV elements and exposed to wind. The minimum test that must be passed involves a burner with a rating of approximately 325 kW and a flame exposure period of 4 minutes.

The Burning Brand Test evaluates whether a burning object placed on a panel can cause the panel to burn or burn through. Wooden brands affixed to the solar panel are used in this test and testing is also performed under wind exposure.

National solar provider Energy Matters states while models of solar panels already installed that have not undergone these tests will not suddenly burst into flames on July 16, determining IEC61730-2 compliancy is another tool solar buyers currently in the market for a system should use as part of their purchase decision.

While solar panels are considered a commodity item these days by some, a panel’s performance in these tests is another example of how not all solar panels are equal says Energy Matters.

The company says that the two major brands it includes in its solar power systems; REC and Daqo, have already achieved IEC61730-2 compliancy. This provides added peace of mind to customers that not only do the panels installed on their rooftops provide excellent performance, but a superior degree of safety.

Image Credit: TÜV Rheinland