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Solar returns to the network

With blue skies slowly returning to WA’s south west corner, so too is the flow of energy from the approx. 250,000 solar panel installations connected to the Western Power grid.

We are not quite back to our winter average peak solar supply of around 610MW that happens around noon each day, but we are a lot closer than we were during recent storm fronts that lashed the coast.

Along with the wind and rain, the storms blanketed much of the metro and Great Southern in thick black cloud cover which, as we all know, is solar’s natural enemy.

On the darkest two days of the storm (6 and 7 June) solar generation dropped by a whopping 63%, or 382MW, compared to a regular sunny day of generation.

Solar panel on a roof

It was only the solar panels on outlying parts of the grid, untouched by storm clouds, that were able to keep a trickle of sunshine feeding in to the grid’s generation mix.

While there were other sources of electrons for Western Power to push around the network, the drop in solar generation was almost equivalent to the generation capacity of the Muja C generator in Collie or two Collgar windfarms in Merredin.

Getting the energy mix right is a constant challenge, but with an abundance of natural energy sources here in WA at our disposal, we’ll always have a solid mix of renewables delivering power to customers via the grid.

That’s why we have delivered the generator interim access solution which is facilitating around 900MW of renewable generators to connect to the network, including large windfarms.