One of the biggest reasons utilities across Australia are turning to stand-alone power systems (SAPS) as an alternative to traditional poles and wires on their networks is to replace aging infrastructure.

SAPS incorporate the latest in solar and battery technology to generate off-grid renewable energy, proving, in some instances, to be a more viable, lower cost-to-service, power solution for utilities.

For Condingup farmers, Graham and Gina Darlow, it means that they no longer need to make sure their generator is hooked up ahead of a storm.

“Without power we can’t get water to the house,” Gina Darlow said.

“The SAPS made it possible for more than 100 power poles and wires to be removed from our paddocks.”

– Graham Darlow, Horizon Power customer, Western Australia

Improved power reliability is just one of the many benefits the Darlows have enjoyed since late 2019 when they transitioning to SAPS as part of an infrastructure upgrade by their utility, Horizon Power. Farm safety has also been enhanced by the removal of the poles and wires system.

“Not only has the removal of the poles and wires made it easier and safer to operate machinery in the paddocks, it has also addressed the issue we had with the cattle scratching themselves against the wooden power poles.

“When it’s a 1,000 kilogram bull having a scratch, it’s only a matter of time before the poles will start to destabilise.”

The destabilisation of the power poles coupled with the cow’s repetitive scratching would cause the poles to sway and power lines to knock together. Previously, this presented a serious risk of pole top fires igniting in the Darlows’ paddocks.

Two SAPS totalling 21.6 kilowatts of solar capacity now power the Darlows’ home and farming operations. A smaller 0.9 kilowatt Nano SAPS powers several hundreds of kilometres of electric fence.

The Darlows have experienced just one power outage since having the SAPS installed.

“That’s a significant improvement from how it used to be,” Gina said. “On average, we would experience an outage of some type at least once a week. Sometimes it was just a short drop out, but other times the power could be out for hours while they tried to locate the problem and fix it.

“Not anymore – power outages are a thing of the past. I honestly don’t even think about the power anymore. It’s just always on.”

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