Solar project provides power to communities during blackouts

Member News imageSolar panels at Sandy Creek Fire Station

CFA is marking Earth Day by recognising the completion of a solar panel installation project in north-east Victoria.

The two-year project, which involved the installation of solar panels on 15 fire stations in an effort to increase community resilience during emergency events, was completed in March 2024.

Group Officer David Box is a member of the Bogong Project Control Group which was created to manage the rollout. David said he was excited to play his part in bringing renewable energy to the region’s stations.

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

CFA’s Bogong Group, in partnership with Indigo Shire Council, successfully applied for a Federal Government grant of more than $500,000 for the Bogong Group Bushfire Resilience Power Project.

The funding for the project came from the Federal Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.

Solar panels and batteries have been installed at Allan’s Flat, Beechworth, Bonegilla, Dederang, Falls Creek, Gundowring, Kergunyah, Kiewa, Mt Beauty, Sandy Creek, Charleroi, Chiltern, Stanley, Tawonga, Barnawartha and Wooragee fire stations.

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

“The solar isn’t costing us any extra as the sun is providing the power,” David said.

“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.

“There’s so much benefit there.”

Members of the Bogong Project Control Group include Group Officer David Box, Volunteer Technical Portfolio Manager Bob Garrick, 1st District Group Officer Cameron Mckern, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Adrian Gutsche, Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Brett Myers and Commanders Carl Stibilj, Claire Healy and Cam Grambau.

/CFA News Release. View in full here.