Western Australian regional power company Horizon Power is continuing its rollout of standalone renewable power systems, installing off-grid solar and battery powered systems for another 19 customers east of the south coast town of Esperance.
Esperance is where, six years ago, Horizon Power first began offering certain remote regional customers the option to be powered by a custom built stand-alone solar and battery power system, or SPS, after bushfires destroyed more than 320 power poles and hundreds of kilometres of power lines in the region in November of 2015.
At the time, four landowners in the bushfire affected town took up the offer. Since then, Horizon Power has committed to deliver more than 1,000 standalone power systems across the regions and in remote Aboriginal communities as part of a broader $75 million Renew the Regions initiative – itself a part of the Western Australian state government’s Recovery Plan.
Horizon Power has so far received $45.8 million to deliver 150 systems across regional WA. Each SPS consists of solar panels paired with battery storage and combined with a back-up diesel generator.
Each system is remotely monitored and controlled by Horizon Power, allowing the company to diagnose faults and remotely fix problems where possible, or send out regular on-site maintenance otherwise.
A total of 45 standalone power systems are set to be deployed in the Esperance region by March, allowing a number of large commercial farms at the fringes of Horizon Power’s overhead network the opportunity to transition to off-grid power.
The latest 45 standalone power systems will lead to the removal of 120km worth of poles and wires from private paddocks, an added benefit that has proven attractive to farmers operating increasingly large farming equipment requiring them to navigate around electrical infrastructure.
“Horizon Power is committed to creating safe and reliable renewable energy alternatives for our regional and remote customers,” said Stephanie Unwin, Horizon Power chief executive officer.
“Horizon Power pioneered standalone power solutions in Western Australia in response to the impacts of the 2015 Esperance bushfires. They provide improved reliability and reduce the risk of fire and safety incidents on farms caused by machinery connecting with the overhead network.”
The installation of the Esperance standalone power systems follows on the heels of a number of other completed installations over the past few months under the Renew the Regions program.
Back in August 2021, a $5.2 million solar and battery storage rollout was completed in the remote Kimberley region town of Derby, which saw a total of 283kW already installed across 13 community buildings and a 40kW solar shade installed at the local pool.
The north-western Western Australia town of Marble Bar installed in November a 582kW/583kWh battery energy storage system to be paired with the Marble Bar solar farm which generates more than 1,000MWh of electricity annually. The new battery is also expected to release 100kW of extra rooftop solar hosting capacity for residents sometime this year.
And in December, Horizon Power confirmed that two batteries in the WA coastal resort town of Broome were on track to be operational early in the near year, and would free up more than 1,400kW of new rooftop PV hosting capacity to residents and businesses of the Kimberley town in February of 2022.