April 17, 2012
Local State Emergency Service volunteers are now better equipped to handle rooftop emergencies, thanks to a donation from Kingaroy business AusTech Solar.
More and more solar power units are being installed on roofs so local SES units are more frequently finding them when called out after storms, fires or floods.
While solar power is safe, the units can become a hazard if handled incorrectly or damaged.
The SES volunteers can now learn how to shut a solar PV system down safely and isolate the power by practising on their own roof-top installation on the Kingaroy SES building.
And as a bonus, they’ll enjoy free power from the sun, and cash back from any power they feed back into the grid.
AusTech sales manager Mark Stevens, who travelled from Perth for the handover, said the 8-panel 1.6kW solar PV system – and 2kW inverter – were worth about $4000 fully installed.
“If a tree branch has fallen on a solar unit, they need to be able to isolate the power safely to avoid any risk of electrocution,” Mark said.
“We have also donated the unit to help them reduce their costs, so they can put that money to other uses.”
Kingaroy SES spokesman Peter Verbakel said the installation would give the SES “more flexibility on the roof”.
“We are finding more and more stuff on roofs when we are called out,” he said.
He said AusTech Solar had also provided a valuable information session where a representative briefed volunteers on how PV systems work, safety issues, hazards, and how to respond to incidents involving them.
Local AusTech Solar dealer David Kemp said the company would also be offering discount rates to members as part of the company’s support to the Kingaroy SES.