WHILE the Yackandandah SES unit strives to protect the community from the perils of extreme weather conditions, they are now using Mother Nature to support their courageous endeavours.
The days of "messing about with no power" when emergencies arise are over with the establishment this week of a new solar-powered generation unit.
The 6-kilowatt solar system means if the power goes off, the SES base can still operate radios, computers and other basic equipment needed to respond to call-outs.
SES Yackandandah unit controller Jackie Ashman said she was proud to be part of a community push towards 100 per cent renewable energy.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"This installation provides our volunteers a huge boost for the often-challenging work we do to help the community stay safe during extreme weather events or accidents," Mrs Ashman said.
"We now know we can focus our efforts on responding to call-outs rather than messing around without power, and with the added bonus we will dramatically slash our power bill, allowing us to invest in other purchases to magnify our service."
Luke Fraser, from renewable power specialist firm Solar Integrity, helped the SES install the $45,000 system.
"If they have a lengthy power outage for a day or even a week, the (solar-powered) generator will take over," he said.
Volunteer community group Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) president Matthew Charles-Jones said the system would not only provide vital power during a blackout, it would save money in the long-term.
"When an emergency happens, the likelihood is the power will go out," Mr Charles-Jones said. "The goal is to help reduce the cost and the carbon impost of their electricity so solar can serve that purpose.
"Day by day, the solar system and battery will almost eliminate draw for the electricity grid, and if the power goes out, the generator will provide the battery with charge to meet the urgent demand of volunteers, allowing the team to focus on community support.
"The power rarely goes out, so we're really talking about this being used during emergencies but also maintaining a reliable supply during the course of a normal day.
"What we expect is they won't have a power bill at all."
Mr Charles-Jones said his group had worked closely with Indigo Shire Council to help fund, plan and install the SES system and others: "We've got a mirror project happening with the CFA and we have solar batteries at the public hall," he said. "We're trying to create flexibility so that emergency services and councils can make different choices to using fossil fuels."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: