Couple who spent over £8,000 on solar panels are made homeless after fault burns their house down


A family’s £400,000 home has been wrecked by a fire caused by their faulty solar panels.

Anthony and Angela McIntyre spent £8,400 having the 20 panels installed on their roof three years ago.

But a faulty inverter in the loft triggered a fire which gutted most of the four bedroom detached house.

The blaze started as the couple’s younger daughter Chloe, 15, was lying in bed asleep and Anthony dashed inside the house to wake her and get her out.

They then watched from their garden as the flames took hold and left the house in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, a smouldering wreck.

The couple and daughters Chloe and Sophie, 19, are still in rented accommodation while their home is being rebuilt at a cost of up to £200,000 following the fire in August.

The cost is being met by insurers, but the family are frustrated at the time it is taking.

Anthony, 51, a production technician at Oldbury nuclear power station, said: “My wife was around and our youngest daughter was still in bed.

“Angela said she was going to put some washing out and she came downstairs and said someone was having a bonfire in the back garden.

“I thought ‘no way’ and looked out the window and saw smoke. It was then I realised it was coming from our house.

“I couldn’t believe how much smoke was coming out of the roof – it was well on fire.

“I had no idea what it could have been at the time – I was only interested in getting my daughter.”

After an inspection by the criminal investigation unit, the insurance company later identified the cause of the blaze as the faulty inverter.

It was not clear whether it was a faulty unit or faulty connection.

An inverter switches electrical current from AC to DC so it can be used in a stand-alone power system.

The panels were installed by Cardiff-based PV Solar which went bust months later.

The family spent six weeks living in a hotel before moving into their rented accommodation while their house is repaired.

And despite the fire, Anthony said he will still have solar panels fitted again.

He added: “I’m having them put back on.

“All the electrical work will be in the garage and it will have heat detectors and smoke detectors.

“It’s made the wife and children a bit worried about having them back, but they are coming round to the idea.”

Avon Fire and Rescue Service said fires involving solar panels are rare and people should make sure qualified installers are hired.

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