WA pilot projects to investigate solar & batteries as solution for remote & rural customers

A $4 million Western Australian pilot project by utility Western Power has installed six stand-alone solar and battery storage power systems to test different ways that electricity can be delivered to rural and remote customers.

WA energy minister Mike Nahan said on Monday that six properties located around Ravensthorpe, Lake King and Ongerup, were trialling the new stand-alone electricity systems, made up of solar panels, battery storage and back-up diesel generation, while remaining connected to Western Power’s grid.

Over the course of the 12 month pilot, participating households will document the experience of having their electricity supplied via the stand-alone system rather than via the traditional poles and wires.

The project – which is being delivered at no up-front cost to the property owners through a partnership with Western Power, regional electricity provider Horizon Power and electricity retailer Synergy – is the second of its kind for the state, after Horizon Power installed five stand-alone systems for customers affected by the Esperance bushfires.

“The pilot will help us explore the right mix of technology and service to make stand-alone solutions another option when maintaining or replacing ageing power poles and lines,” said Nahan in a statement on Monday.

“Western Power is using its expertise to provide the right power solutions for the right customers and Horizon Power, with its knowledge in microgrids, led the engineering and procurement process for the project,” he said.

If the trial is successful, Western Power will investigate the future use of the systems as part of a solution for other edge-of-grid customers.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd