WA region goes off-grid with renewable power system

Horizon Power has delivered Australia’s first off-grid renewable energy solution for rural customers, which is completely independent from the electricity grid. 

Standalone power systems (SPS) are providing Horizon Power’s customers at the fringe of its network with off-grid electricity which is safer, cleaner and more reliable than traditional poles and wires. Each SPS unit comprises solar panels, batteries, inverters and a back-up diesel generator so customers have power supply 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather.

Horizon Power will install 17 standalone power systems in the Esperance region by the end of 2019. 

Horizon Power’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Unwin, said that the SPS units will significantly improve reliability for customers by removing long rural lines which can experience frequent and prolonged power outages.

“Standalone power is a viable alternative in remote locations where poles and wires are prone to outages caused by lightning strikes, bush fires, vegetation and bird strikes.

“We only have to look back to the fires of 2015 to see how important this new energy solution can be for the safety of a community.

“Over the last three years we have successfully demonstrated technologies, such as SPS, which improve reliability of power supply and safety for our customers and can offer sustainable energy solutions at a lower cost than traditional solutions.”

The project milestone saw the disconnection of the properties from overhead lines, and will enable 64km of poles and wires to be removed from paddocks.

Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said, “The energy sector is undergoing a significant transformation, which is mainly driven by the rapid uptake of solar panels and battery storage systems at homes. 

“Improving our energy sector in Western Australia is essential and overdue, which is why the McGowan Government launched its Energy Transformation Strategy earlier this year.

“The Government is looking at a range of options and initiatives to evolve the State’s power system and deliver a cleaner, brighter and more resilient energy supply for decades to come.

“Congratulations to the Horizon Power team for deploying these standalone power systems, which aligns with the Energy Transformation Strategy.”

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