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Energy Safe switches off solar farm over fire risk

On 8 December, the operator of the Cohuna Solar Farm at Horfield was directed to disconnect equipment after an eight-to-ten-acre grassfire at the site in November.

Published:
Friday, 22 December 2023 at 12:36 am

Energy Safe has ordered the state’s ninth largest solar farm to cease generating power, following a fire at the northern Victoria site. 

On 8 December, the operator of the Cohuna Solar Farm at Horfield was directed to disconnect equipment after an eight-to-ten-acre grassfire at the site in November.  

After implementing short term safety measures, the solar farm recommenced operating at a reduced capacity on 17 December. 

Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson said initial investigations into the fire raised concerns about specific equipment used at the solar farm. 

“The operation of modern solar farms is generally safe but on the rare occasion we see a fault with specific equipment we will investigate,” Ms Hughson said. 

The operator of the solar farm is working to find a permanent solution to help ensure the issue does not happen again, while also working closely with Energy Safe to comply with the current direction. 

Energy Safe is also investigating the cause of a separate fire at a hospital in Melbourne. 

On 26 November, a blaze broke out at the Joan Kirner Women and Children’s Hospital at St Albans, causing women and babies to be evacuated from the area. 

Initial investigations indicate the fire was started by a lithium-ion battery or the battery charger cradle, however the exact cause is yet to be determined. 

ENDS 

 Energy Safe. Always. 

Media contact: Jonathan Granger 0400 948 934 | jonathan.grainger@energysafe.vic.gov.au 

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