Busselton couple Sherry and Barrie Thomas have had only one blackout during 11 years of living with off-grid solar energy.
The pair told the Busselton-Dunsborough Mail that they’ve not looked back since installing a solar panel system at their remote Lowden property in 2007.
The couple shared their experience at this year’s ‘Critical Horizons Powering the Future of WA’ conference.
They started off back in 2007 with a tiny solar energy system powering their holiday home in South West WA.
However, they now run their main home, bike repair business and eco-friendly holiday accommodation using only power generated by their off-grid solar energy installation.
And according to Sherry Thomas, they’ve only experienced one blackout. This compares to “blackouts with Western Power numerous times a year”.
Off-grid solar easy and reliable in remote areas
When the couple decided to build their main home they also looked at connecting to the grid. However, they were quoted over $80,000 to get connected, Sherry says.
This figure also required the couple to dig the underground trench themselves. The connection would also have to come through bushland protected by a conservation covenant.
Because the quote from Western Power was too expensive, the pair then decided to expand their existing solar energy system.
However, at that time, solar panels had not yet experienced their big drop in price. They paid $50,000 for a system which costs half that amount today. However, Barrie Thomas says they still paid $30,000 less than the grid connection.
The Thomases installed the remote off-grid solar power system before they started building their new home. Power tools could then be used without having to run the diesel generator.
Wide solar energy choice for remote Australian properties
Plenty of options exist for remote householders wanting alternatives to expensive grid connections.
These include a range of solar energy kits which are easy to install with preassembled DC control boards. These stand-alone solar power kits are designed to deliver a specific amount of electricity over 24 hours.
Companies like Energy Matters also have extensive experience in supplying off-grid solar energy solutions to remote properties nationwide.
A range of off-grid rebates and incentives exists to make stand-alone solar installations an affordable option for remote homes and properties.
In addition, battery storage like the Tesla Powerwall can be used with off-grid solar energy systems to ensure 24-hour power supply.