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Solar-powered future in WA-first off-grid power

Five solar-powered, stand-alone power systems have now been installed in Esperance as part of the restoration effort in the wake of last year’s devastating bushfires.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the last of the five systems, which belonged to Cape Le Grand farmers John and Val Locke who lost powerlines and poles on their property in the November 2015 bushfires, had now been installed.

Dr Nahan said four customers across five properties had taken up the opportunity to partner with Horizon Power in the WA-first project after more than 320 power poles and hundreds of kilometres of powerlines were destroyed in the bushfires.

“I commend Horizon Power for identifying that we could offer these customers a solar-powered, stand-alone power system, which incorporates battery technology and is not connected to the grid,” he said.

“This is a WA-first project offering an innovative solution for customers instead of rebuilding this part of the network, which is more susceptible to adverse weather and other causes of power interruptions.

“These customers - including the Lockes - are pioneers of these new systems, which will be owned and operated by Horizon Power.  The customers will pay the same cost for their electricity supplied by these units as they did previously for power supplied by poles and wires.

“While the units won’t be connected to the network, customers will receive the same service, including being able to call and rely on Horizon Power to respond to any unplanned power interruptions.”

The Minister said Horizon Power was working to identify other potential sites where stand-alone power systems could be a viable alternative to connecting to, or maintaining or replacing, the overhead network across its service area.


Fact File

  • The stand-alone power systems consist of solar panels and batteries, backed up by diesel generation
  • In the wake of the fires, Horizon Power rebuilt the vast majority of the network, reconnecting more than 400 customers within 10 days of the November 2015 bushfires in Esperance
  • Photo caption:  Cape Le Grand farmers John and Val Locke


Media contact: Ministers Office - 6552 5700 or Horizon Power - 1800 799 745