FIREFIGHTERS are citing a suburban Newcastle house fire as part of a spate of blazes related to solar panels.
Fire and Rescue NSW is calling for residents with panels to stay observant and take steps to protect their properties.
Fire investigators cited solar panels as the cause of four fires in the past week, including one in Maryland.
The investigation revealed the blaze started after a short circuit in a solar power box, resulting in smoke from it.
Others were reported in Lalor Park, Pennant Hills and at a Parramatta school.
The warning comes due to a 20 per cent rise in fires related to solar panels compared to the same time last year.
Solar isolation switches are causing almost half of the blazes, Fire and Rescue NSW said.
Commissioner for Fair Trading Rose Webb said it was crucial professionals installed solar panels.
"If you're considering installing solar panels at your property, any system you install needs to comply with Australian standards," Ms Webb said.
"It's also essential that you use a contractor that's qualified to do the installation and wiring, so it's always a good idea to do a licence check with NSW Fair Trading before any work takes place."
Superintendent Graham Kingsland from the Fire Investigation and Research Unit said blazes linked to solar panels had increased "five-fold" since 2015.
"It is not uncommon to see solar panels cause house and building fires," he said.
"By ensuring solar panels are installed by a licensed installer, and are well maintained by a professional, you can prevent a tragedy."
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