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Frequently asked questions

Browse the topics below to learn more about the Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot.

Horizon Power is establishing a Renewable Energy Pilot in Onslow, which aims to connect traditional energy sources with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and battery storage systems, to maximise the amount of renewable energy in Onslow.

Onslow’s community, residents and businesses have an opportunity to be a part of this ground breaking Pilot and benefit from the generous discounts being provided by Horizon Power on a range of solar panel and battery storage systems.

Renewable energy is an important part of Western Australia’s current and future energy mix, and is a core focus of Horizon Power’s business. 

Currently, there is a limit to how much renewables can be connected to the grid in any one town. A high volume of renewables, particularly in a small town, can cause issues with the power supply to the town.

We need to carefully manage the renewable energy connected to the grid to ensure it doesn’t impact the reliability of power supplies to all of our customers.

This short Horizon Power video explains how solar power works.

The Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot is an example of how Horizon Power is using its technology and expertise to demonstrate how high levels of renewable energy far beyond the normal limits that might be applied can be generated by customers, while reliability of supply is maintained.

The Pilot includes solar energy systems (solar panel and battery storage) installed on customer premises, as well as a solar farm and a large utility battery. Managing these new installations will be a control system to coordinate the resources and ensure a high amount of renewables supply the Onslow grid without impacting power reliability or safety.

With between nine to 12 hours of sunshine per day almost all year round, Onslow is the perfect size and location for Horizon Power’s Renewable Energy Pilot.

In addition, in conjunction with the planned solar farm and network battery, Onslow provides Horizon Power with the opportunity to bring the future forward and test a high amount of renewables in a small town grid. 

The Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot is a demonstration testing new technology to maximise the amount of renewables in Onslow. In order to conduct this demonstration, Horizon Power requires these renewables to be connected to the Onslow electricity grid.

The Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot is a one-off pilot to test and improve Horizon Power’s ability to integrate high levels of renewable energy into Onslow’s existing systems safely and reliably.

While this is a one-off pilot, Horizon Power will aim to apply the benefits gained and lessons learned to other regions in the future.

The average household in Onslow with a 5 kilowatt solar panel system will be reducing their carbon omissions by producing 9.0 Megawatt-hours of renewable energy per year.

As part of the Onslow Renewable Energy Project, Horizon Power is offering Onslow community, residents and businesses generous discounts on the purchase price of a selection of solar panels and battery storage systems.  Participants will enjoy significant upfront savings and potential long-term savings and benefits including:

  • 75%* off the price of a range of specialised solar panel and battery storage systems adapted for the Pilbara climate
  • An average reduction in ongoing power bills of up to 50%**
  • An average payback period of less than two years**
  • An opportunity to sell back your excess solar energy to Horizon Power (residential and not for profit customers only)
  • Flexible, finance options facilitated by Horizon Power’s solar and battery partner, MPS^
  • Local installation and in person support provided by MPS
  • Making a valuable, long term contribution to reducing your home or businesses’ environmental impact

*Community, residential and commercial customers in Onslow are eligible for a discount of up to 75% on selected solar panel packages or solar panel and battery storage system packages, subject to terms and conditions as specified by Horizon Power. This offer may be withdrawn at any time.

**The potential savings and payback period mentioned are based on Horizon Power’s power consumption research, which shows that 80% of Onslow connections can reduce their electricity bills by up to 50% by purchasing an optimally-sized solar panel and battery storage system at the current standard tariffs.  Actual savings and payback period may differ depending on how you use electricity and whether tariffs change over time.

^Horizon Power’s energy partner is Mechanical Project Services Pty Ltd as trustee for the MPS Unit Trust (ABN 42 664 043 970)

Depending on the solar panel and battery storage system installed, an indication of the saving customers can expect to save are as follows:

  • Residential customers – save from between $6,100 for a 3 kilowatt solar panel system to $23,400 for a 5 kilowatt solar panel system with a 10 kilowatt-hour battery.
  • Commercial customers – save from between $8,800 for a 5 kilowatt solar panel system to $27,100 for a 10 kilowatt solar panel system with a 10 kilowatt-hour battery.

Based on Horizon Power’s electricity consumption research for Onslow, 80% of Onslow connections can reduce their electricity bills by up to 50% by purchasing an optimally-sized solar panel and battery storage system at the current standard tariffs. 

Actual savings may differ depending on how you use electricity and whether tariffs change over time.

Horizon Power has partnered with local north-west energy specialists MPS to provide solar panel and battery storage systems under the Pilot.

To make this offer affordable and accessible to the Onslow community, residents and businesses, these generous discounts will be applied at the time of sale. As such, there is no requirement for you to pay the full price of the solar panel and battery storage systems and then claim the discount back.

On signing your contract with MPS, you will only need to pay the subsidised price advertised - making it easy and affordable.

While solar panels and battery storage systems can be expensive, as part of the Pilot, Horizon Power is offering Onslow residents and businesses 75% off the retail price of a range of high quality systems, making the systems significantly more affordable.

When you meet with an energy specialist from MPS they can provide you with details of their finance partner who can discuss your options and the approvals process.

Horizon Power has a local office in Onslow and can organise for an energy specialist from MPS to meet with you.  They will discuss your electricity consumption, assess your premises for suitability, and provide you with advice on options which best match your needs.

To find out further information or to organise to meet with an energy specialist:

The Onslow Pilot is available to all resident and business customers in Onslow up until 31 December 2019.  This offer may be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of Horizon Power.

The Horizon Power Onslow office will be open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 8am – 4pm. Please note that at times, our dedicated staff member may be offsite attending to site consultations. The office phone number is always available to leave a voice message, and you will receive a follow up call the next scheduled office day.

Terms and conditions relating to the purchase, installation and warranty of the solar panel and battery storage systems will be presented and discussed in detail with you by MPS. 

In order for Horizon Power to conduct this Pilot, the additional conditions should be noted:

  • To ensure stability of the electricity system Horizon Power will need to take remote control of your solar panel and battery storage systems to adjust its output. This is to ensure we are able to balance energy flow through the network and maintain reliability, a key component of the Pilot. We do not expect that this will occur very often and will report transparently on any such occurrences. Based on our studies to date, Horizon Power expects this to be less than 2 – 5 percent of the time.
  • Onslow is located in a Category D cyclone region, meaning extra structural assessments and approvals are required by the Shire of Ashburton before a solar panel system can be installed. This can affect the installation timing, however the process is in place to ensure you receive a safe, fully insured installation. If your property is structurally unsuitable, you would need to ensure appropriate upgrades are completed prior to joining the Pilot.
  • A central power control system is necessary to manage the additional renewable energy systems connected to the Onslow grid to ensure the stability of power supply to the town. In order to ensure the stability of power supply whilst new renewable systems are being installed, Horizon Power may stagger installations of the new systems.

Horizon Power will only adjust the output of your solar panels or battery storage system at times when the electricity system requires it. During these times you will still have power, however your solar panels and battery system may not be producing at its normal levels. Horizon Power expects this to be around 2 to 5 percent of the time.

Horizon Power believes that allowing customers to connect their solar panels and battery storage systems while remotely adjusting their output from time to time is a better outcome than rejecting customer connection applications due to supply issues, which does happen in some towns.

As part of the installation of your system, a small box called a ‘Secure Gateway Device’ will also be installed (at no cost to you), providing a direct link to Horizon Power for any times in which managing reliability requires remote control.

If required, we may need to install the device on a separate day after the installation is complete. Your installer will contact you if we need to do so. This device may also be replaced in the future as technology advances.

This exclusive Pilot offer requires the Secure Gateway Device to be installed and working at all times. We are conducting the Pilot in order to increase the number of customer renewable systems installed beyond the town’s normal limits.

No. The agreement for Horizon Power to have remote control of the solar panel and battery system is between Horizon Power and the owner of the property.

However, the account holder, whether they are the owner of the property or the tenant, will need to sign the REBS agreement with Horizon Power to be eligible for the buyback arrangement.

Horizon Power has partnered with local north-west energy specialists MPS to offer a range of high quality solar panel, inverter, and battery storage systems which are designed to withstand the extreme heat and weather conditions of the Pilbara.

Product details can be viewed at www.horizonpower.com.au/onslowsolar

Alternatively call the Horizon Power’s Onslow office on (08) 6310 1029, visit us at Unit 1/20 Second Avenue, or email onslowsolar@horizonpowercom.au to request a copy of this information.

Solar panels can operate over a wide temperature range, typically ranging from -40oC to +85oC. The optimum temperature for performance is around 25oC, however solar panels will still generate electricity in temperatures up to 85oC.

As part of preparing the Pilot, Horizon Power undertook a comprehensive search and evaluation of solar panel and battery storage systems and suppliers, and has appointed MPS, a local north-west supplier and installer, who is familiar with the Pilbara conditions. MPS has sourced premium, cyclone-rated systems designed to withstand Australia’s extreme conditions and will ensure the system installation is undertaken in a way that minimises the effect of high temperatures.

Solar panels typically have a performance warranty period of 25 years, while battery storage systems are generally expected to operate for approximately 10 years.

If you have WIFI access or an Ethernet connection you will be able to monitor how much electricity your solar panels are producing.

The premium inverters offered have built-in monitoring tools which can easily tell you how much power you are producing from your solar panel system using an app. You can use this information to calculate how much money you’re saving by using your own power rather than electricity from the network.  

Solar panels and battery storage systems can be substantial in size and weight and therefore require strong, durable structures to be fitted to. Some properties may appear to have strong roofs but on inspection, the structures may be unsuitable for solar panels.

Sheds are also typically not suitable for these reasons. 

All aspects of your property’s suitability will be discussed when an energy specialist from MPS meets with you on site to undertake a detailed inspection of your property. If your property is assessed as unsuitable, you would need to complete the appropriate upgrades prior to joining the Pilot.

All property owners in Onslow are eligible to be a part of the Pilot.

Assuming your property is assessed as structurally suitable, participation in the Pilot is on a first come first served basis, and sales will be open to the entire community from the first day. 

Horizon Power’s target for the Pilot is to achieve 2,000 kilowatts of installed capacity of solar panel systems plus 1,000 kilowatt-hours of battery.  This could be met through around 200 to 300 system installations. 

Horizon Power may withdraw this offer at any time.

The generous discounts available on a select range of solar panel and battery storage systems include the purchase price and installation of the system.

As part of the consultation and quotation process, an energy specialist from MPS will meet with you on site to undertake a detailed inspection to determine if your property is suitable for solar panels and battery storage.  They will also advise you of any additional expenses you might incur, such as the need to upgrade the property’s electrical wiring to accommodate the installation.

The payback period is the time in which it takes you to recover your initial cost to purchase and install your solar panels and battery system using the purchase discount and ongoing savings on your electricity bills as a result of your new system.

Your will remain on the same tariff you are currently on.  

You may qualify for Horizon Power’s Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme.

Residential or registered not-for-profit customers who have installed a five kilowatt or less system may be eligible to participate in the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme (REBS). 

This means that the electricity you generate and do not use can be sold back to Horizon Power and exported into the electricity system.

Our online calculator will help you determine if you are eligible to participate in our buyback scheme.

Please note: buyback rates are reviewed annually and the amount payable is subject to change. Horizon Power will advise you of any changes that affect your buyback rates.

No. Even when installing solar panels and battery storage, you will still be connected to the grid at all times, including when the power supply to the town is interrupted.

If there is a supply outage in town for whatever reason, your solar panels and battery system will also shutdown as part of normal safety processes.

Horizon Power will be working directly with employers and government agencies who provide staff housing in Onslow.

To find out further information or to organise to meet with an energy specialist:

Horizon Power does not sell retail solar panels or battery storage systems. In order to run the Pilot, Horizon Power has chosen to partner with MPS (Mechanical Project Services Pty Ltd as trustee for the MPS Unit Trust (ABN 42 664 043 970))

MPS is a local solar panel and battery storage supplier and installer who operates in the north-west and is familiar with the Pilbara climate and conditions.

Horizon Power undertook a rigorous open competitive procurement process to ensure the most appropriate partner for the Pilot was selected.

Our partner, MPS meets Horizon Power’s stringent safety, quality and reliability standards.  The company has a local office in Onslow and considerable experience in delivering solar products in the north west of WA, which is also important to us.

This means the Onslow community can enjoy access to premium solar panels, inverters and battery storage systems from the world’s leading brands.  In addition, MPS’ local presence will ensure you receive quality sales, installation, customer service and support from the team.

While Horizon Power is providing generous discounts to reduce the cost of new solar panel and battery storage systems, the contract you will sign for supply and installation of the system will be with MPS who is the supplier and installer.

In addition, you will also need to complete the Horizon Power application process to connect renewable energy systems to the local network, which includes both a normal connection contract between you and Horizon Power and a contract to release the discount including the terms and conditions of participation.  As a part of these terms and conditions, you will agree to Horizon Power having remote access to your solar panel and battery system (see The Conditions of the Offer).

Note: If you are a landlord, the Horizon Power account holder will need to sign the connection contract. The landlord receiving the discount will need to sign the discount contract.

MPS, a Clean Energy Council approved local retailer and installer, will oversee your end-to-end installation process.

MPS will also manage the warranties and servicing aspects of your system.

No.  As part of the Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot the selected range of solar panel and battery storage systems are only available from MPS for the duration of the Pilot.

No. MPS is responsible for overseeing all system installation and is responsible for ensuring all installers are Clean Energy Council approved.

Once you have agreed on your product selection, the end to end process, including connection and Shire approvals, logistics, delivery, installation and the quality assurances process will take approximately 45 days. 

This is an indicative timeframe, and may vary depending on market demand and the fine-tuning of the power control system described in The Conditions of the Offer

Your installer will need you to be home in the morning to provide access to your roof and property.  It may then be possible for you to leave your premises if you wish to do so.  However, you will be required to be at home to sign installation documentation at the completion of the installation.  Your installer will agree timeframes for install with you ahead of time.

All of our solar panel systems have been selected to ensure a battery can be added in the future if required. If you are not sure whether you want to invest in a battery just yet, you can always install one at a later date.

If you are a large user of electricity during daylight hours only, a solar panel system without battery may be sufficient – MPS will discuss these options with you at your site visit.

The Pilot is for a limited time only.  Should you decide to install a battery after the Pilot is finished you will not benefit from the current substantial purchasing discounts being offered by Horizon Power.

No. Horizon Power has specifically selected solar inverter models that have been pre-tested to communicate with the Horizon Power management system.

Pre-existing installations cannot be retrofitted at this stage.

The customer is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their own solar panels and battery systems.

MPS is the product supplier and installer, and is responsible for providing product and service guarantees and warranties as per their terms and conditions.

We believe in the quality of the products offered. Should you experience a fault or issue with your solar panels or battery storage system, please contact MPS on 08 6500 1530.

A member of the team will work with you to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

During the installation process, you should speak with your property insurer to discuss what damage cover they provide for solar panels and battery storage systems.

MPS is responsible for all customer service and product queries. All products come with a warranty from MPS.

Horizon Power’s key focus after a natural disaster such as a cyclone is to ensure the local power supply is working as required.

When sunlight hits the solar panels on your roof, your inverter converts it into electricity that is ready to use in your home. If you don’t use the electricity made by the solar panels, your meter measures how much of your excess electricity is fed back into the network for someone else to use. The meter also helps measure how much electricity you use from the network when there is no sun to generate your own solar energy.

You can find out more at www.horizonpower.com.au/onslowsolar

As you’re generating some of your own electricity rather than taking it all from the network, your electricity bills will be less. You may also be eligible for the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme, which enables you to sell back your excess electricity to Horizon Power to be put back into the network.

This means the savings you make on your normal bills and the buyback payments you receive by selling excess electricity to Horizon Power can help repay the cost of your system.

Another benefit is that solar panel systems produce significantly less carbon emissions than fossil fuels, so they’re also great for the environment. The average household in Onslow with a 5 kilowatt solar panel system will be reducing their carbon omissions by producing 9.0 megawatt-hours of renewable energy per year.

Solar panel capacity is the maximum amount of energy your panels can produce at any time, whilst the inverter capacity is the maximum amount of energy that can be used (or sent to the grid) at any time.

Having a higher solar panel capacity than inverter capacity helps to overcome any losses between the panels and the inverter, and can help maximise the amount you generate across the entire day, when the sun is in different locations relative to your panels.

A battery storage system stores excess solar energy which can be used to power your home.

When you are not using all of the energy your solar panels are generating (such as in the middle of a work day when the sun is shining), your inverter triggers the battery to start charging by capturing and storing the excess solar energy rather than automatically sending it back to the network.

Once your battery is fully charged, your inverter will send any surplus solar energy you produce to sell back to the electricity network. The moment you run out of solar energy (such as in the evening when the sun goes down), your battery triggers your inverter to stop drawing energy from the network and start discharging your battery.  This will use all of the energy which was stored up in your battery during the day, saving you more money on your power bill.

Once the battery is fully discharged, your inverter will draw energy from the grid as required and you will be billed accordingly, until your solar system starts to generate energy again.

Further information

If you have a question or would like to meet with an energy specialist, please contact us.

- complete the enquiry form
- contact Horizon Power’s Onslow office on 6310 1029
- email onslowsolar@horizonpower.com.au

Enquire now

*Community, residential and commercial customers in Onslow are eligible for a discount of up to 75% on selected solar panel packages or
solar panel and battery storage system packages, subject to terms and conditions as specified by Horizon Power. This offer may be withdrawn at any time.
**The potential savings and payback period mentioned are based on Horizon Power’s power consumption research, which shows that 80% of Onslow connections can reduce their electricity bills by up to 50% by purchasing an optimally-sized solar panel and battery storage system at the current standard tariffs.  Actual savings and payback period may differ depending on how you use electricity and whether tariffs change over time.
***Horizon Power’s energy partner is Mechanical Project Services Pty Ltd as trustee for the MPS Unit Trust (ABN 42 664 043 970)