Thursday, 30 November 2023
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Swan Hill SES, going solar

Swan Hill residents can feel even safer in the knowledge that their local SES Unit has complete protection from power outages thanks to the recent installation of a community-funded solar and battery system.

Funding for the 6.6kW solar panels system was provided by the Mallee Sun Solar Bulk-Buy in partnership with Swan Hill Rural City Council and the Tesla Powerwall 2 battery was funded from money raised through the annual Duck Race organised by the Swan Hill SES.

Deputy Controller, Swan Hill Unit Victorian State Emergency Service, Rob Merrett said the system would be a big advantage.

“Prior to having this system installed, if there was a power outage our computers and radios would go down and there would be a gap of 15 to 30 minutes before they were powered up again.

“We have a backup generator but it’s a manual process to get the power going so there is a delay.

“Whilst we don’t have many power outages, when they do happen it’s generally during a storm event and that’s exactly when we need to be fully prepared and powered up,” Mr Merrett added.

Mr Merrett said with the solar and the Powerwall battery the unit now has complete protection from power outage.

“If power from the grid goes down, our battery will kick in automatically, keeping all our essential systems working – we’re completely prepared to respond to an emergency at any time now.”

“We’re very appreciative of the funding from the Mallee Sun Solar Bulk-Buy and Council for the solar panels.

“I’d also like to thank everyone who’s supported our Annual Duck Race which is our only fundraising event and raises around $10,000 for the Swan Hill SES each year.

“The battery is locally funded from the support of the sale of 2,000 tickets worth $5 for each rubber duck – and not just from one event, but from two as the Powerwall cost us just over $16,000,” Mr Merrett said.

Swan Hill Rural City Council’s Mayor Bill Moar said the Swan Hill SES provides an essential emergency service to the people of the Swan Hill region.

“Council is very pleased to have supported Swan Hill SES and their new system – it is vital for the safety of our community.

“Helping them to achieve a guaranteed supply of uninterrupted power was a priority,” Cr Moar said.

For information about how the Mallee Sun Solar Bulk-Buy can help your home, business, farm or community group to ‘go solar’, click here, or call 1300 466 274.

More information about the Swan Hill SES units system:

About the solar and battery system

System details:

  • Solar PV System:  6.6kW
  • Battery: Tesla Powerwall 2

Installed through the Mallee Sun Solar Bulk-Buy program (

  •  Solar retailer: Specialized Solar.
  • Solar installer: Swan Hill Solar and Electrical.

About the Swan Hill Unit, Victorian State Emergency Service.

The Swan Hill Unit was first registered and established in 1967. The Unit provides at 24/7 rescue service for Swan Hill region.  It is also the Divisional Command Point for a much larger region whereby a large-scale event in this area will be managed from our Unit under the command of an Incident Control Centre.

VICSES has a wide range of roles including planning for and responding to floods, severe storms, earthquakes, tsunami, road rescue as well as search and rescue. VICSES also provides a support role to other emergency service agencies including Victoria Police.

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