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Keeping the lights on

How a stand-alone power system will reduce farmer Ian McKenna’s food bills

It takes less than 24 hours for a freezer half full of food to defrost.

Which means Tardun farmer, Ian McKenna, has arrived home more than once following a couple of days away to an unpleasant smelling fridge and freezer.

His property sits at the end of a long spur line from Three Springs, where a combination of dust build up and moisture makes power outages a common event.

“It can be really painful to get back to a heap of food that’s gone off, so if I go away I’ve got to ask whoever is keeping an eye on the sheep and farm to also go and check on the fridges,” he says.

“I’d describe myself as a lower power user, and the power supply is not as bad as it used to be. However as soon as it rains or there is a lot of wind, the power goes out, so reliability is a big concern.

“Quality can be an issue too. If you’ve got a welder going, it’s a pretty big drag on the quality.”

So when Ian was approached by Western Power about installing a stand-alone power system (SPS) on his property, he was delighted.

“I knew about the Ravensthorpe trial and thought it sounded great, so I’d been hoping it would come here.

“My brother, who is on a property nearby but on a different spur line, would like one too, so I’ve beaten him to getting one.”

A 6.5kW system with solar panels, batteries and a back-up generator has been installed on Ian’s property, to power his house and his sheds.

“That unit will be enough for the house given I’ve even got a wood-fired hot water system.

“I am considering getting a wool press in the future, and they can be power hungry, so it will be interesting to see how the power supply copes and whether we need to add to the unit.

“However for now, being able to improve power reliability would be gold.”

Want to find out more about stand-alone power systems?

Read about the success of the SPS trial at 6 farms in the Great Southern.

See why WA is the perfect place for SPS.

The stand-alone power system is improving power reliability on Ian's farm.