Mallacoota SES given free solar and battery, in wake of East Gippsland fires

Stories of post-bushfire generosity and innovation from renewable energy companies continue to emerge, this time from a town in one of the hardest-hit regions of Victoria, East Gippsland.

RACV/Gippsland Solar CEO Andy McCarthy said this week that the SES headquarters in Mallacoota, which was cut off from the rest of the state by a devastating fire on new year’s eve, had been fitted with solar and battery storage, free of charge.

The project, a joint effort of a number of companies, installed a 6kW rooftop solar system and 12kWh of battery storage – worth more than $25,000, all told – to ensure the SES could access backup power, and provide a community meeting point, in any future emergencies.

McCarthy said the project had been organised via the RACV/Gippsland Solar Community Fund, which he said had been in full swing across the fire-ravaged region in the wake of the bushfires.

He said the Mallacoota system was the third his team had been able to deliver at no cost, including a similar installation at a wildlife shelter in Bruthen, and another project that would be announced shortly.

“We are thrilled to have been able to donate and install this entire system for no cost to the amazing team at Mallacoota SES,” McCarthy said in a post on LinkedIn.

“This project was made possible through the generous donations by SunPower Corporation (solar panels), Fronius (inverter), Selectronic (Solar/battery controller) and GenZ (12kWh of lithium battery storage),” he said.

“This system will ensure backup power is available to the SES, and provide a community meeting point in the event of an emergency. We hope it is never required, but it will provide peace of mind for the Mallacoota community.

“We have been blown away by the generosity of our supply chain, who have been eager to help in any way they can.”

In South Australia, the Liberal government this week announced that all 188 of the state’s houses that were destroyed in this season’s bushfires would be offered free battery storage for their new-build homes, in a joint effort with battery maker Sonnen.

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