Solar-powered future in WA-first off-grid power

Five solar-powered, stand-alone power systems have been installed in Esperance as part of the restoration effort in the wake of last year’s bushfires.

The last of the five systems, which belonged to Cape Le Grand farmers who lost powerlines and poles on their property, have now been installed.

Four customers across five properties have partnered with Horizon Power in the WA-first project, after more than 320 power poles and hundreds of kilometres of powerlines were destroyed in the November 2015 bushfires.

“I commend Horizon Power for identifying that we could offer these customers a solar-powered, stand-alone power system, which incorporates battery technology and is not connected to the grid,” Energy Minister Mike Nahan said.

“This is a WA-first project offering an innovative solution for customers instead of rebuilding this part of the network, which is more susceptible to adverse weather and other causes of power interruptions.

“These customers are pioneers of these new systems, which will be owned and operated by Horizon Power. The customers will pay the same cost for their electricity supplied by these units as they did previously for power supplied by poles and wires.”

While the units won’t be connected to the network, customers will receive the same service, including being able to call Horizon Power to respond to power interruptions.

The Minister said Horizon Power was working to identify other potential sites where stand-alone power systems could be a viable alternative to connecting to, maintaining, or replacing the overhead network across its service area.