Rooftop solar install gets Victorian country fire stations emergency ready


Victoria’s volunteer Country Fire Authority (CFA) has overseen the install by local electricians of 280 solar panels supplied by Adelaide-based manufacturer Tindo onto 15 of its rural fire stations with 14 also receiving 16.6 kWh battery boxes sourced from Chinese manufacturer BYD to guard against grid outage.

The project, funded through the federal government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grant, has delivered 7.4 kW arrays at 13 CFA fire stations, a 6.9 kW system at another and a 4.9 kW at the remaining station. All of the systems feature Tindo’s Karra 410 W panels.

Five of the stations are on 3-phase power and have BYD’s Gen24 Symo 10 kW Plus batteries installed, while the remaining 10 stations have Gen24 Primo 6 kW Plus batteries in place.

Tindo Solar supplied 280 410 W rooftop solar panels shared across 15 CFA fire stations.

Image: Country Fire Authority

The rollout was coordinated by the CFA’s Bogong Project Control Group, including Volunteer Technical Portfolio Manager Bob Garrick.

“What we’ve done with the batteries is configure the system so that overnight they’ll only discharge 10% of the battery leaving 90% at all times on standby to support the community,” Garrick said.

“We’ve also installed Tigo TS4-A-O optimisers and Cloud Connect Advance (CCA) to provide rapid shutdown for personnel protection. The reason for doing that is many CFA buildings are metal sheds so if you have a problem on the roof top you’ve got an electrical circuit sitting there and if anybody touches the wall they’ll be electrocuted.”

CFA’s Bogong Group officer David Box said the group, in partnership with Indigo Shire Council, had secured a $500,000 grant as part of the federal government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.

Tigo TS4-A-O optimisers have been installed along with 16.6 kWh BYD Battery Boxes.

Image: Country Fire Authority

“During times of emergency the local fire station plays a big role in supporting communities and helping them get back on their feet,” Box said.

“The Bogong Project has not only provided a back-up source of power for these stations, but it will give communities a place to recharge their own batteries and power their equipment during a black out.”

“This means if a storm takes the power out in a region, people will have access to better facilities, which helps with the recovery time for the affected community.”

Box said the fire stations will also see cost benefits.

“It’s conceivable that some of our stations could become energy positive in the future so anything that is being generated by them could be going back into the grid,” he said.

Box said the idea for the project was inspired by the efforts of the Yackandandah community which independently organised for solar panels and a battery to be installed at their local station.

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