Crop and livestock farmers Nick and Mandy Chapman were part of Horizon Power’s inaugural deployment of 17 stand-alone power systems (SAPS) as part of the utility’s upgrading of power infrastructure along a lengthy distribution spur line.
The Chapmans, like many farming families, experienced the challenges which came with power interruptions and outages. Their generator was always on stand-by ahead of forecasted storms to ensure the essentials, such as water, could continue to be pumped to the house in the event of a lengthy power outage.
Having power poles and wires running through their paddocks presented a number of issues and hazards when cropping, including:
Farm machinery colliding with power poles, particularly during seeding and harvesting when machines operate at night, risking peoples’ safety, machinery damage and power pole damage
Pole top fires caused by dust on the wires, extreme weather events and bird collisions
Aerial sprayers clipping power lines.
Providing safe reliable power that met or exceeded the utility’s obligations under its charter.
Analysing the load profile, demands and usage requirements.
Mitigating the impact of a power outage by sizing the battery to be capable of providing 4 – 5 hours of back-up power, allowing the utility time to rectify an issue.
Eliminating the need to travel across farm paddocks
Ease of access for deployment and servicing
Safe distance from agricultural chemicals
Not inhibiting the movement of large farm machinery
Since the SAPS was installed in late 2019 the Chapmans have experienced a range of benefits:
Reliability and quality of power:
More consistent and reliable power, with no major outages experienced.
Improved quality and evenness of power flow
Improved productivity during shearing season when power reliability is critical
Farm safety and land usage The removal of poles and wires in the paddocks is making it safer to operate farm machinery day and night, removing the costly impacts associated with farm machinery colliding with poles, including lengthy power outages. Other benefits include:
Allowing the Chapmans to maximise the usage of their farmland.
Removing risks of pole top fires in paddocks.
Making it significantly safer for aerial spraying as aircraft can fly low and stay low.
Day-to-day improvements The reliability of SAPS is improving the Chapman’s day-to-day lives, including:
Eliminating the prolonged unplanned outages as a result of issues occurring somewhere along the lengthy distribution spur line.
No longer needing to maintain a generator for back-up power.
Peace of mind thanks to the SAPS’ 24-hour remote monitoring service which is able to quickly detect and resolve issues.
“Before SAPS, if we lost power the shearing crew would head back into town and we’d have to hit ‘reset’ and start over the next day.
That’s no longer an issue now that we have the SAPS which gives us reliable power all year round.” – Nick Chapman