Seven fire departments in Missouri are now harvesting the power of the sun, thanks to Wisconsin-based solar developerSunVest (No. 143 on the Solar Power World 2014 Top 400 Solar Contractors list).

SunVest, a full-service solar electric installation company that has completed more than 500 installations totaling 7.5 MW across four states, reached out to the Boles Fire Protection District in Labadie and the Goldman Fire Protection District in Hillsboro.

“Our sales people are trained to identify a good south-facing roof and then make contact with the owners of the building,” says Ryan Lettau, business manager at SunVest.

Coincidentally, board director for the Boles Fire District, Harvey Dubbs, had previously spoken with SunVest about installing solar panels on his home. SunVest impressed Dubbs with the company’s ideas for going solar and he thought the district should research solar for the fire stations.

The Boles Fire District features four of the six roof-mounted arrays, which were completed in September. Three of the installations are 25.5 kW, and the fourth is 19.6 kW, totaling 376 solar modules.

“The roof mounted solar array was most beneficial for the district because of the layout of the stations for maximum energy received from the sun,” says Boles Fire District Chief Jim Casey.

Boles Fire Protection District Chief Jim Casey and members of his squad outside the Labadie Station.

The Goldman Fire District arrays are 25.5 kW, 17.8 kW and 7.65 kW, and went online June 27 this year. Both fire departments noted a reduction in utility bills as a result of the array.

“With the cost of everything going up, we needed some way to lower costs, and solar seemed like the best option for lowering utility payments,” says Gary Peters Goldman Fire District Chief.

Lettau says the approval and installation processes for both projects went smoothly. “Since Jan. 1, we’ve completed 190 systems totaling more than 2,750 kW,” he says. “All the systems were under 65 kW, so this type of installation is something we do every day and have mastered in some sense.”