Second small fire breaks out at Westerlo solar field

Don Filkins posted this image to Facebook, reporting on a solar fire in Westerlo.

WESTERLO — A small fire broke out on Monday at a Westerlo solar field after a control box short-circuited, Westerlo Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Don Filkins told The Enterprise. 

Westerlo’s code-enforcement officer, Jeffry Pine, told The Enterprise that “it appears [the fire] was at Westerlo 1 just south of Shepard East.”

Westerlo 1 is located near the intersection of routes 32 and 405, near one of two large solar facilities at Shepard’s Farm. 

Filkins said that a control box short-circuited, and that the call came in Monday after a passerby saw smoke rising from the solar field.

“When the fire department arrived,” Filkins said, “we went through and turned off the two banks … and then we disconnected the power via shut-off switch to that box only from outside power so that the box was then isolated.”

Filkins said the firefighters contacted a representative from the company in charge of the facility and a new box has since been installed.

The fire posed “no danger to the public at all,” said Filkins. He explained that the fire could have potentially spread to other control boxes that are adjacent, but the spread would be limited to that “island” of boxes, and perhaps some other equipment.

“Outside of that, if it was dry weather, a fire could spark the grass and get that going, but it’s a completely fenced in area,” Filkins said. “It’s all locked up and everything and there’s no immediate danger to the public. There are no structures or anything. It would just be a facility fire.” 

Filkins noted that it was the second fire at that particular field since the springtime, when a different control box combusted in a similar manner. 

“The same issue happened but that one didn’t get quite as burned,” Filkins said. 

Filkins said none of the other solar fields in Westerlo have caught fire in the few years they’ve been established. 

“It’s kind of a recurring issue now,” Filkins said of the Shepard Farm solar field containing the fire. “But, on a good note, we’re getting a lot of training on solar power and energy, so that’s great.”

Joined: 11/17/2017 - 22:54
Solar farm

As usual, the information regarding the solar farm was incorrect.
The fire was on the WESTERLONY01 property which is managed by AMERESCO.
On numerous occasions, the information put in print by Noah regarding the various solar farms, is incorrect and I suggested that he reach out to the building department for true and valid information.
Dotty Verch

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