Horizon Power will develop five, off-grid solar-powered energy systems following damage to the electricity network caused by bushfires in Esperance in late 2015.

The stand-alone systems will power properties in the region, using solar power and lithium ion batteries for energy storage.

WA Energy Minister, Mike Nahan, said lithium ion batteries will store solar power generated in the stand-alone power systems, which would be backed up by diesel generation.

The Esperance bushfires destroyed more than 320 power poles and hundreds of kilometres of powerlines, with the vast majority of the network being rebuilt and more than 400 customers being reconnected within 10 days of the fires.

Instead of being reconnected to the grid, four customers across five properties affected by the November bushfires will partner with Horizon Power on the project.

Mr Nahan said the Western Australian Government was committed to harnessing the latest developments in renewable energy technology to find innovative power solutions.

“The Esperance project is applying an off-grid solution to customers affected by the devastating Esperance bushfires in those areas of the network which had previously supplied only one or two customers along long stretches of powerline,” Mr Nahan said.

“This is one of the many innovative projects the Government is currently exploring to power regional and isolated Western Australian communities more efficiently and reliably.

“Western Power is also partnering with Horizon Power and Synergy to undertake a pilot project to evaluate the use of stand-alone power systems in other parts of regional WA.”

Mr Nahan said Horizon Power expected to use the knowledge gained from the stand-alone power systems in Esperance to apply to other suitable parts of the network in regional WA. 

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