Worker injured in fire at South Australian solar farm


The South Australia Country Fire Service (CFS) has confirmed that a contractor was taken to hospital for treatment of burns after an inverter in a shipping container ignited at Epic Energy’s Mannum solar farm, causing an estimated $250,000 damage bill.

The CFS said 10 firefighters responded on Tuesday morning after an emergency call about an inverter in “bursting into flames” at the solar farm site. The facility, being developed adjacent to Epic’s initial 5 MW Mannum Solar Farm, about 85 kilometres east of Adelaide, is currently undergoing commissioning following the completion of construction last year.

“CFS crews managed to keep the fire contained to the shipping container and stop it spreading to nearby solar panels,” CFS said in a statement.

“A contractor on site has been taken to hospital for treatment and SAPOL (South Australian Police) investigators have attended the site to conduct a workplace safety report.”

In a statement shared with pv magazine, Epic Chief Executive Officer Clive D’Cruz said the company’s principal contractor is “working with SafeWork SA to investigate the incident.”

“We are offering our support to our principal contractor and wish the injured personnel a full and speedy recovery,” he said. “The safety of our staff and contractors is Epic Energy’s highest priority.”

D’Cruz said repairs will be “undertaken as quickly and safely as possible’ as the commissioning process continues.

The stage two expansion of the solar farm is located adjacent to the Mannum 33/132 kV substation and will operate independently from the initial 5 MW stage, which has been operating since 2019, as it has an independent connection to the SA Power Networks distribution grid.

The incident follows Epic’s announcement this week that it will build a 100 MW / 200 MWh standalone battery energy storage system alongside its solar farms at Mannum. Construction of the battery is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2024, with completion scheduled for the second half of 2025.

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