If you are ever fortunate enough to find yourself at the Beaumont Community Hall, expect to be greeted with huge smiles from Lyndon Mickel and his family.

Proudly nursing Harrison, his daughter Kiara South’s first child, and his first grandchild, it’s easy to appreciate why Lyndon and the other 22 farming families who make up the Beaumont Community Association (BCA) share an affiliation with the hall.

The BCA was formed more than 30 years ago and has provided this small but active farming community with a shared voice on matters which have been important to them over the years.

However, what underpins the longevity of the BCA is perhaps something far greater. Friendship, good humour, respect and support – all of which you can expect to find at the Beaumont Community Hall, some 120 kilometres east of Esperance, Western Australia.

In late 2019, regional power utility, Horizon Power took the opportunity to show its support for the BCA by including the hall in its deployment of 17 stand-alone power systems (SAPS) as part of an infrastructure upgrade program.

SAPS are off-grid power solutions incorporating the latest in solar and battery technology to provide continuous utility grade renewables generated power.

As the BCA President, Lyndon Mickel said the installation of the 10.8 kilowatt solar capacity SAPS had significantly improved the hall’s power quality and reliability.

“You can’t underestimate how important social connection is on the mental health and wellbeing of a community. Having the SAPS has increased the community’s use of the hall and its facilities.”

– Lyndon Mickel, President, Beaumont Community Association

“Being located towards the end of the line, we would often experience at least one power outage a week,” said Lyndon. “With the SAPS we now have continuous, reliable power which is making it possible for us to use the community hall day and night.”

The BCA recently set up a weekly mothers’ group and has also established a weekly men’s group on Tuesday evenings.

“We started the men’s group as a way of getting the guys off their farms,” Lyndon said. “It’s providing a place where they can get together and talk amongst themselves.”

Lyndon notes that social isolation can be an issue for farmers as they are often more geographically isolated and think that they have to deal with their problems alone. Having somewhere to get together to discuss what’s important, or just engage socially is important for long term mental health.

The team of engineering specialists worked to customise the design and capacity of the SAPS to meet the power needs of the hall and the adjacent fire station.

“Out here we’re surrounded by thousands of hectares of farmland, and fire is a major risk for us” Lyndon said. “With reliable power from the SAPS day and night we are able to keep the battery in the fire truck charged – which gives us peace of mind.”

As Lyndon hands an inquisitive and cheerful Harrison back to Kiara and says his goodbyes, he adds, “As a community we’ve been through our share of tough times over the years. But we look out for each other.

“The one thing you can be sure of is there will always be someone here to welcome you with a smile and a cold beer – and a reliably cold beer thanks to the SAPS!”

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