Western Power completes deployment of 52 stand-alone power systems in Australia first


Cleaner, cheaper and more reliable: the rollout of combined PV and battery units to rural properties on the edges of WA’s electricity network has continued, delivering a “triple threat” of benefits to customers and rate payers in the state.

In another Australia first, one of the SPS units in Wansbrough, in southern WA, will trial supplying power to two customers. The systems, which include solar panels, a battery and a back-up generator, are both cheaper and more reliable than traditional poles and wires for supplying energy to farms and regional households.

 As part of the Round 1 rollout, a total of 52 units have been deployed throughout the Mid West, Goldfields, eastern Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions, replacing an average of 4.5km of overhead powerlines on each property and 230km in total.

 The extension of the program will help Western Power understand how SPS systems can be used at scale in a range of locations across the grid. The program follows the successful pilot of six SPS units in 2016, in which 90% of the power generated came from solar. Over the three year period of the trial, customers avoided over 200 hours of power interruptions.

 Western Power described WA as the “perfect place” for SPS systems and said the Round 1 rollout is the start of a 30 year plan with the long-term aim of entirely removing the ageing poles and wires from participant’s properties.

 Servicing the units for their working life will save Western Power almost $6 million compared to the network refurbishment which would otherwise be needed to ensure reliable power supply to rural properties in off or edge-of-grid areas.

“Stand-alone power systems are a cost-effective and innovative approach to providing power to WA’s regional customers,” Energy Minister Bill Johnston said in a statement. Earlier this year, his government passed the Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019 which made the SPS deployments possible beyond the trial phases.

The SPS systems have been also hailed as generating direct benefits for the WA economy, creating new jobs and training opportunities supporting WA small businesses.

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