Significant changes in the energy industry in recent times have resulted in the creation of new opportunities for renewable energy alternatives.
Horizon Power is at the forefront of these changes and is exploring new ways to meet our customers’ energy needs using the very latest technology and at the same time making more efficient infrastructure decisions.
Standalone Power Systems are an alternative, off-grid power source best suited for rural customers whose properties are located on long power lines servicing a small number of connections or for customers seeking a new power supply. In many cases these hybrid systems provide an alternative to building, upgrading, replacing or repairing powerlines.
These power systems use solar and battery technology to generate and store electricity without being connected to the existing electricity network. Using solar panels, batteries, inverters and a back-up diesel generator, the system supplies continuous power 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather.
Horizon Power developed a renewable energy solution to the loss of part of our network in Esperance farming communities which were ravaged by bushfires in November 2015.
The fires had a devastating impact with the loss of life, livestock and crops.
Horizon Power also lost a significant section of its network, including more than 320 wooden power poles, hundreds of kilometres of powerlines and more than 450 customer connections in communities east and north-west of Esperance were damaged or destroyed.
The restoration effort was very large and swift, with the majority of affected customers having power restored within ten days thanks to our crews with the support of Powerlines Plus and Western Power contractors.
However, some customers at the end of damaged powerlines were supplied with temporary diesel generators while we investigated the opportunity to supply them with stand-alone power systems (SPS). These systems were an alternative way of supplying power to customers who were previously connected to the network.
Esperance Shire President Victoria Brown welcomed the project, saying it was an exciting initiative for the region and particularly for farmers located at the end of long powerlines.
“Horizon Power has done an outstanding job responding to the Esperance bushfires and also in creating this opportunity to launch renewable energy systems in the regions,” she said. “I am a farmer myself and I know that many members of our local farming community are very interested in this project and in potentially having them on their farms in future.”
By May 2016, Horizon Power had installed five of these systems throughout the Esperance region with Cape Le Grande farmer Rodney Locke the first recipient.
Horizon Power Managing Director Frank Tudor said the Esperance project was the beginning of a new era.
“We have developed a new consumer energy strategy that will be implemented throughout regional Western Australia within the communities we serve. Our goal is to harness the very latest in renewable energy technology and offer alternative power supplies for our customers,” he said.
A SPS unit generates and stores electricity without being connected to the existing electricity network. With its own solar panels, batteries, inverters and back-up diesel generator, it supplies continuous power 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather.
How a Standalone Power System works;
- The solar panels generate electricity during daylight hours with any excess used to charge the battery.
- The battery then provides power at night or when the weather is overcast for long periods of time.
- A diesel generator provides back up when, on occasion, energy use is higher than what the solar panels and battery can supply.
Standalone Power Systems can be used to power homes, sheds, workshops, offices and farm worker accommodation. The system is optimised to meet individual customer needs.
- Standalone Power Systems provide a reliable and clean energy resource.
- They are less affected by outages caused by line maintenance and weather events such as cyclones, floods and bushfires.
- The customer has access to information about the performance of their system.
- There are no poles and wires on the customer’s property which minimizes hazards and results in more efficient land use.
- Its modular design creates flexibility to meet changes in energy needs.
- Fault response, operating and maintenance services provided by Horizon Power.
Rodney Locke of Adina Stud, Cape Le Grande, the first customer to receive an SPS unit.
“I am delighted to be the first Horizon Power customer in Western Australia to receive a stand-alone power system. I saw it as an opportunity to have something more than we had ever hoped for – a reliable, clean energy source which will deliver even better service than we had in the past. It won’t be affected by outages caused by maintenance on the network or weather-related events.”