Utilities install solar and batteries instead of new grid in remote WA

Renewable energy boom drives upturn in utilities construction.Utilities construction peaking in Australia.

Key utilities in Western Australia are substituting solar battery technology for ageing power infrastructure in remote farming areas. This utility solar battery use is a turnaround for big utilities’ traditional non-renewable energy sources.

State-owned utility Horizon Power is replacing 54 kilometres of ageing power lines and poles with microgrid solar storage systems at 14 farms in Esperance.

In addition, 13 micro power systems (MPS) will provide stand-alone clean energy as well as back up diesel generation when needed.

Utility solar battery and micro power technology booming

In addition, regional utility Western Power is rolling out its own solar microgrids. It will also install 57 stand-alone power systems (SPS) across WA’s south-west.

Key utilities in WA employ solar battery systems in remote areas.

Farms in remote WA will benefit from a roll-out of stand-alone solar battery systems.

Western Power claims its $8.8 million project is the largest single roll-out of SPS units in Australia.

The utility solar battery systems combine solar panels and battery technology with a back-up generator. Western Power could save close to $6 million by servicing the systems instead of refurbishing its existing network.

Key utilities offer independent power, reduce bushfires

MPS technology offers several benefits to rural residents and properties:

  • Boosts the independence of landowners and remote residents.
  • Offers alternative to expensive and polluting diesel generators.
  • Replaces ageing grid infrastructure.
  • Reduces risk of bushfires caused by lightning strikes.
  • Reduces accidents caused by farm machinery operating near power lines.
  • Makes power supply more reliable.
  • Offers clean, renewable power.

Horizon Power will also extend MPS access to farmers on the fringe of the power grid, east of Esperance and the Condingup area. Power is notoriously unreliable in these places.

Customers will pay the same tariff that currently applies to electricity from the grid.

Farmers give solar battery systems big tick

Seventy-six per cent of Australian farmers say they want to invest in solar power and battery storage.

The figures taken from a 2018 CommBank Agri Insights report also show 84 per cent of farmers surveyed in Western Australia want to invest in solar energy with battery backup.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that key power companies in WA are offering utility solar battery power solutions to suit customer requirements.

Meanwhile, dairy farmers in Victoria are also taking energy into their own hands.

They are using a solar battery microgrid to generate and trade clean energy as part of an ARENA-backed trial.