Enphase donates microinverters to rebuild after bushfires

Firefighter battles blaze on Kangaroo Island (Enphase)

Solar energy company Enphase has donated 18 microinverters for REC solar panels to provide energy for the $1.3 million reconstructed Stokes Bay Community Hall, which was destroyed by catastrophic bushfires in 2020.

Located on the north coast of Kangaroo Island, Stokes Bay has a population of more than 200 people, for whom the 60-year-old hall is the heart of the community. In January 2020, a bushfire badly damaged the hall and destroyed a recently completed adjacent kitchen building, as well as 17 houses in the community. Across Australia, the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 caused 33 deaths, destroyed 3094 houses and burned more than 17 million hectares.

Related article: Bright days ahead thanks to REConstruct solar program

As part of the rebuilding project supported by the Prince’s Trust, Enphase Energy has provided 18 IQ7+ microinverters for 18 370W REC solar panels, which were installed on a nearby Country Fire Service (CFS) shed by Enphase partner Energy SA.

The 6.66 kilowatt-peak (kWp) solar system, with a retail value of about $12,000, will provide energy for the rebuilding project this year and for the entire hall when it’s completed in the second half.

As Stokes Bay lacks fixed-line Internet access, Energy SA installed a 4G modem at the hall to enable remote monitoring of the system using the Enphase Enlighten web-based solar energy monitoring software. Enphase also donated five years worth of monitoring data for the system.

Enphase microinverters installed under REC solar panels on the CFS shedd, next to the community hall, which will be rebuilt this year

Stokes Bay Community Hall Committee treasurer Michael Stanton said the hall was the heart of the small community.

“We use it every week for everything from tennis club meetings and church services to sports tournaments and Christmas shows,” Stanton said.

“Since the bushfire, we’ve either had to make do with our truck shed or travel all the way to Parndarna, which is 27km away. Our new solar system is fantastic because it will lower the cost of power and increases its reliability. Because of the extra energy generated by the solar system, we can now have lights on the tennis court and extra power and airconditioning for the kitchen and our planned conference room.”
Enphase Energy donated its IQ7+ microinverters through its Giveawatt program while REC provided its Alpha Series solar panels through its REConstruct initiative. The system went live in December.

Energy SA co-founder and sales manager Robby Mack said Enphase was perfect for the remote location on Kangaroo Island, which is separated from the Australian mainland by the 13.5km Backstairs Passage.

Related article: Australia must exploit rooftop solar lead

“Enphase is the best inverter manufacturer, with the most efficient and most reliable equipment,” Mack said. 

“Importantly, panels are configured in parallel, not daisy chain, so there is no single point of failure. We can also use the Enphase software to easily monitor the panels remotely without going on-site, which is more than 230km by road. Remote management allows us to make configuration changes from Adelaide and, if a problem occurs with a panel, we can diagnose it, place a warranty claim and ship the replacement panel to our local partner without the customer experiencing a problem.”

Previous articleSumo fined for cutting off ‘wall of shame’ customers
Next articleGransolar secures investment to grow in Australia