Sandstone solar and BESS boost Mid West renewables

Aerial image of regional town Sandstone's solar farm and battery energy storage system
Sandstone solar and BESS (Image: Horizon Power)

Horizon Power’s new centralised solar farm and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in Sandstone, in Western Australia’s Mid West, is supporting the regional energy provider’s commitment to delivering green energy solutions as it works towards a net zero carbon future.

Sandstone is the third regional Western Australian town to receive a centralised solar farm as part of Horizon Power’s Major Project’s Midwest Solar Program, following the successful completion of projects in Wiluna and Yalgoo.

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Under this program, Horizon Power is installing centralised solar PV in six towns—five in the Mid West region and in Norseman in the Goldfields, increasing renewable energy penetration in these towns.

The new 163kW solar facility and 759kWh BESS unit in Sandstone integrates with the existing Sandstone power station and is now operational, following the completion of reliability testing.

The solar farm and BESS will provide a sustainable and efficient alternative for the towns that are currently relying on diesel generators for their energy needs. The excess electricity generated by the solar panels during the day can be stored in batteries for use during the night or on cloudy days, ensuring a consistent power supply even when the sun isn’t shining.

By generating and storing their own electricity, the towns will be able to significantly reduce their reliance on diesel generators—cutting down on fuel costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact associated with diesel combustion. The existing diesel system can then serve as a back-up.

The overall program, which will see Cue, Meekatharra and Norseman commission similar solutions, is expected to reduce 2,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum, saving an estimated $900,000 per annum, while improving fuel security and dampening the impact of fuel price fluctuation.

The program, supported with $13.5 million in Commonwealth funding, will support the State’s decarbonisation efforts.

Horizon Power CEO Stephanie Unwin said solar and battery installations offer an effective alternative energy solution in remote locations, providing annual operating cost savings and carbon emissions reductions.

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“Towns in remote parts of Western Australia are heavily reliant on diesel for energy generation, which have high operational costs and associated emissions,” she explained.

“Horizon Power is committed to delivering green energy solutions that reduce operating costs and stimulate local economic activity, which in turn drives growth in regional WA and creates opportunities for the local community.”

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