Western Australia’s Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, visited a farming property east of Esperance to view and formally acknowledge the installation of a new renewable energy solution for rural customers, which is 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’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Unwin, said 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,” Ms Unwin said.

“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.”

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

By the end of 2019, Horizon Power will have installed 17 SPS units for customers living in the Neridup and Beaumont farming areas in the Goldfields-Esperance region.

Horizon Power is leading the energy market transformation as the first utility to replace traditional infrastructure with an alternative, renewable energy power solution that is fully off the grid.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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