In late 2019 Condingup farmers Nick and Mandy Chapman opened their home and farm up to their power utility, Horizon Power and a group of its customers to celebrate a shared milestone.

The West Australian utility had just achieved an Australian first with the deployment of 17 stand-alone power system (SAPS) on customer properties east of Esperance, facilitating the permanent removal of 64 kilometres of poles and wires from their network.

As part of this inaugural deployment, Nick and Mandy worked with energy specialists in the customisation of their 10.8 kilowatt SAPS, which incorporates the latest in solar and battery technology to deliver continuous reliable power all year round to their household, workshop and shearing shed.

For Mandy, who has run a successful catering business and enjoys hosting family and friends on their farm, she has appreciated the improved power reliability which has come with the SAPS.

“Power outages are no longer an issue now that we have the SAPS which gives us reliable power all year round.”

– Nick Chapman, Horizon Power customer, Western Australia

“Based on weather conditions, I could usually predict when we might expect a power outage,” Mandy said, “which was useful, particularly if I was wanting to experiment with a new recipe.”

“Now that we have the SAPS, the weather is no longer a consideration in what or when I cook.”

Two years on, the Chapman’s are a testimony to both the benefits SAPS is providing households in regional areas, as well as the improvements in farm safety and efficiencies which have come with the removal of power poles and wires from their paddocks.

“It’s easier and more efficient to operate the machinery in the paddocks now that the power poles have been removed,” Nick Chapman said.

“Particularly during seeding and harvesting times when we are working in the paddocks throughout the night the risk of colliding with a power pole can increase.”

With a back-up generator which kicks in to supplement the supply of power, particularly on cloudy days, Nick said they no longer have to worry about the power going out during crucial times, such as shearing season.

“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.”

The team at Boundary Power are continuing their work with Horizon Power, as they deploy up to 50 SAPS as part of the WA Government’s $75 million Renew the Regions initiative. This will see more Horizon Power customers across its 2.3 million square kilometre service area enjoy the benefits of improved power reliability.

“From our perspective, it has been great to be a part of the initial roll out” Mandy said.

“We are no longer impacted by power outages on the network and appreciate the improved safety and efficiencies which have come with the removal of the power poles and wires from our paddocks.”

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