Inverter fire at EPIC Energy’s Mannum 2 Solar Farm

From VIC to QLD to SA …

I’d just posted this note (and some questions) about Stanwell Unit 1, when the headline ‘Inverter burst into flames’ from RenewEconomy made me sit up at attention:


The article’s open access on the RenewEconomy site, so everyone can read it there – but just want to copy in the following details:

‘The 39MW(DC) Mannum 2 solar farm was acquired by Epic Energy in August 2022 from Canadian Solar and is currently in the commissioning phase – not yet sending power to the grid – following the completion of construction last year.’

‘Mannum 2 sits alongside the original 6.8MW Mannum solar farm, which was developed and built by Canadian Solar in 2019 and bought by Epic Energy in November 2020.’

This article mentions the South Australia Country Fire Service, so I did a quick search and did find this update on Twitter from them:


… which links through to the article ‘Mannum solar farm fire – 9 January 2024’ here:


… which notes ‘a triple zero call at 9:45am’ (which I’ll assume was SA time … so 09:15 NEM time).


Given I already had it open following the STAN-1 article above, I changed the focus of the ‘Bids & Offers’ widget inside of ez2view to see what was visible for the MANNSF2 unit (i.e. which is, I believe, the DUID for the new unit) as follows:


I’ve annotated a couple numbers in the image, and provide some comments below:

1)  The Maximum Capacity of the unit is 29MW according to the AEMO data

(a)  remembering that Maximum Capacity is typically a better measure of Installed Capacity for Solar Farms.

(b)  but that would be AC, whereas RenewEconomy references the DC size

(c)  registration happened (i.e. when it first appears on the chart above) on Tuesday 12th December

2)  From the middle of the day on 21st December the unit has been bidding 5MW into PASA Avail

3)  Furthermore, the unit has been offering volume (up to 5MW) in various price ranges since 22nd December 2023

4)  The RenewEconomy article says ‘not yet sending power to the grid’ … yet in the widget above we see (in the black line) actual output starting on Wednesday 3rd January 2024 (i.e. a week ago).

5)  With the fire underway already at 09:15 NEM time yesterday, it’s also curious to see that after that point:

(a)  PASA Avail, and Volume offered in the bids, drops to 0MW from ~12:00 yesterday; but then

(b)  Curiously the output of the DUID (seen in Initial MW) ramps back up to 5MW about ~14:15 yesterday, and also again today.

6)  Curiously as well, the rebid shown at the bottom of the Bid Table (received at the AEMO at 09:59, so too late for the 10:05 dispatch interval but used by NEMDE in the run for the 10:10 dispatch interval yesterday)…

(a)  Only included a rebid reason ‘availability adj due to testing’ and nothing about ‘fire’?, as we see in the ‘Bid Comparison’ widget in ez2view here:


(b)  Shifted volume out of the –$80/MWh (‘negative LGC’) price range and up to the bid band 10 (at the Market Price Cap )

i.  The bid is capped at 5MW MaxAvail

ii.   At that time, the unit was set with MaxAvail = 5MW for the rest of the Market Day

(c)   We need to step forward to the next rebid to see that the MaxAvail was reduced to 0MW from the 12:00 dispatch interval:

i.  Not shown here, but this was received at 11:50 and used in the 12:00 dispatch interval

ii.  Still with a rebid reason ‘availability adj due to testing’ and nothing about ‘fire’?,

(d)  But, despite the zero volume offered, (as noted in (5) above) still showing actual output at 5MW later Tuesday afternoon and also today (Wed 10th January 2024).



Again, more questions than answers at this stage…



PS1 – Thu 11th Jan 2024 – also in PV Magazine

Worth also recording that David Carroll has written ‘Worker injured in fire at South Australian solar farm’ in PV Magazine:


About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

3 Comments on "Inverter fire at EPIC Energy’s Mannum 2 Solar Farm"

  1. internet commentator | Thursday, January 11 2024 at 4:51 pm | Reply

    Maybe they were testing whether the inverter is flammable, in which case the lodged rebid reason is entirely appropriate (and the test successful).

    But seriously, since when do we demand that rebid reasons be 100% specific about the root cause of the plant issue, especially when the operators need to diagnose, triage, and rebid very quickly? That rebid reason is fine and no one in the market is worse off for its un-specificity.

    When VBB and Bouldercome experienced fires, Wattclarity didn’t publish articles admonishing them for not using the word “fire” in their rebid reasons, so why the consternation this time?

  2. I’m not sure what question you are trying to answer?

    Being ~30MWdc they have multiple PCUs/Inverter stations potentially available, and depending on their reticulation arrangement they can shuffle their collector feeders to continue their 5MW (notifiable exemption status likely) export for hot commissioning on the non-burnt units. And their commissioning test plan would likely be rotating PCUs for that hot commissioning.

    I assume you are only trying to ping them for the rebid reason wording, in which case it might still be accurate enough… at least as accurate when FF generators have ‘maintenance’ during low $ periods etc?

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