At approximately 12.34pm on Monday, April 24, the grass between the solar panels at Beryl Solar Farm, near Gulgong in central New South Wales, caught fire. Fire crews were called at 12.36pm and attended site within 20 minutes, managing to bring the fire under control by 4.30pm, a Beryl Solar Farm spokesperson said.
The root cause of the fire is currently being investigated.
The damage assessment at the solar farm remains underway, a spokesperson for the project confirmed to pv magazine Australia. “But for the areas that we are confident are unaffected we are bring them back online today,” they added.
The 87 MW (AC) / 110 MW Beryl Solar Farm went into commercial operations in June 2019 and is wholly owned by Banpu Energy Australia, managed by RES, and operated by Novasource.
NSW Rural Fire Service crews were able to contain the fire with no threat to people or neighbouring properties. In a facebook post, however, the NSW Rural Fire Service said the fact the fire was burning under solar panels made access more difficult for firefighters.
Ground conditions in central NSW have been impacted by the extended period of wet weather which, together with the recent high temperatures, resulted in the extension of the bushfire season to 30th April 2023, a Beryl Solar Farm (BSF) spokesperson said.
“BSF continuously monitors and maintains vegetation levels in line with NSW Rural Fire Service guidelines to mitigate fire risk.”
“This is the first incident of its kind at BSF and a thorough investigation is underway to investigate the root cause, while all the equipment remains isolated for safety reasons.”
“All plant personnel are safe and accounted for, the site has been secured, and there were no injuries,” the spokesperson added.
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