Power outages are no longer a topic of conversation for Condingup farmer Adrian Perks, thanks to the installation of a stand-alone power system (SAPS).

The Perks’ 16.2 kilowatt solar capacity SAPS was installed as part of the deployment of 17 utility grade SAPS in late 2019 by West Australian regional utility, Horizon Power.

Horizon Power is responsible for providing power to customers across 2.3 million square kilometres of regional and remote Western Australia, and has, for some time, been thinking differently about how it delivers power to its customers.

Having undertaken a number of earlier, successful SAPS trials, the utility embarked on a significant infrastructure upgrade, replacing aging poles and wires along a 64 kilometre distribution spur line with utility grade SAPS solutions.

“Since the SAPS was installed, we’ve only experienced two outages, and in both instances Horizon Power was able to reset the system remotely.”

– Adrian Perks, Horizon Power customer, Western Australia

Having undertaken a number of earlier, successful SAPS trials, the utility embarked on a significant infrastructure upgrade, replacing aging poles and wires along a 64 kilometre distribution spur line with utility grade SAPS solutions.

For Adrian and his family who crop 4,000 hectares of land 68 kilometres east of Esperance, this has made a significant difference to farm safety and efficiency.

“I no longer have to worry about any of the hazards which came with having power poles in the paddocks,” Adrian said.

“This included the risk of farm machinery colliding with a pole, or the many causes of pole top fires, such as a build-up of dust on the wires, lightning strikes, or even birds colliding with the wires.”

Additionally, Adrian no longer has to think about pest or weed control which were consequences of having to maintain a two to three metre buffer around each pole.

“Managing weeds and pests, such as snails around the base of the poles was critical and something that you had to stay on top of,” Adrian said. “It has not only saved us time, but also means we can maximise our land usage.”

Prior to the installation of the SAPS, the Perks would experience frequent power fluctuations, interruptions or outages as a result of being connected to a lengthy distribution spur line.

SAPS engineers worked closely with the Perks to analyse the household and business power usage and needs to inform the sizing of the system. This has ensured they enjoy a continuous supply of power 24 hours a day to the home, staff quarters and workshop.

The SAPS is also remotely monitored which enables issues to be identified and rectified quickly, with the majority of the issues able to be resolved remotely from the control centre.

“It’s great to know if we’re not here there is someone watching the SAPS for us. It gives us peace of mind that if the power does go out, they’re aware of it and onto fixing it.”

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