Some Firefighters Are Embracing Solar


A fire station in Arizona goes solar to save money. The 25.5 kW rooftop solar array is expected to provide 90 – 95% of the station’s electricity needs.


It wasn’t that long ago that you wouldn’t have been reading stories every day about businesses, churches, schools, and government buildings saving money by going solar. Now, stories like this have become run-of-the-mill.


But there are still interesting twists, and one of those stories caught our eye recently. A fire station in Fort Mohave, Arizona, is going solar. It’s not surprising that the Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department is saving money with a new 25.5 kW rooftop solar array, which is expected to provide 90 – 95% of the station’s electricity needs. What might be surprising, though, is this endorsement of solar power by firefighters.


Last year was full of stories about the hazards solar could pose for firefighters. While organizations like UL (Underwriters Laboratories) are doing a lot to allay those concerns, those stories still keep surfacing from time to time.


Apparently, Station 91 in Fort Mohave is not worried about the fire hazards — at least, not at their station. The fire chief is worried, however, about a decreasing income. Because most of the station’s income comes from property taxes, and that has declined 47% since 2009, this is a serious concern. So saving on their power bill will be a big benefit to the station.


The solar project was funded by the Mohave Electric Cooperative’s Renewable Energy Program and the Huguenin-Rallapalli Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation. Some of the funding comes from the Renewable Energy Standard Tariff, a surcharge on cooperative members’ bills that is mandated by the Arizona Corporation Commission. Mohave Electric is also concerned with saving costs, since that translates into savings for its taxpaying members.