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Empowering regional communities with SPS

Stand-alone power systems: Smart off-grid solutions  

We’d like to think everyone, regardless of where they live, should have access to a reliable electricity supply.

Some of the more remote areas in Western Australia rely on our traditional infrastructure to power their homes, only to find the long stretches of powerlines servicing these properties can easily be affected by environmental factors such as wind, rain, vegetation and lightning. Reliability therefore isn’t great and maintaining them is a costly exercise.

We’re tackling these issues head on by finding better ways to deliver this essential service, which supports our current infrastructure.

We’ve been successfully trialling new technology with six farming properties, which could one day replace the need for powerlines in regional and remote areas.

They’re called stand-alone power systems, or SPS for short.

As the name suggests, these off-grid power systems operate independently from the main electricity network.

Each SPS consists of a renewable energy supply such as solar panels, battery storage, an inverter and a backup generator, which supplies electricity to a single property.

The system is sized to matched the power use of the property to ensure it is fit for purpose.

The families who took part in the initial one-year trial will continue living off the grid for a further three years. The extension of this trial will allow us to continue monitoring the reliability of the off-grid power supply and our customer’s experience.

Based on this success, we have launched a project to rollout more of these systems (SPS Round 1) focusing on a much larger deployment to other regional areas in WA. 57 properties will be going off the grid in an effort to demonstrate SPS deployment on-scale.

52% of our overhead distribution network serves only 3% of our customers. Considering this, we can already see that providing regional and remote customers with off grid power systems can make a positive impact on our network resources and deliver improved power reliability.

Learn more about the trial and how it’s benefiting rural customers:

SPS FAQs

  • Who pays for SPS?
  • What are the benefits of SPS?
  • Who is eligible for SPS?
  • How does an SPS work?
  • Why SPS?
  • What is a stand-alone power system or ‘SPS’?
  • Can other people join SPS Round 1?

There is no additional cost for selected customers to participate in a stand-alone power system (SPS) round. We cover all costs associated with SPS including site investigations, system installation and ongoing maintenance.

Participants will continue to receive a bill from Synergy for the electricity they use. The cost per unit of electricity continues to be the same as network-connected customers, so if electricity use stays the same, so will the customer’s bill.

SPS projects:

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Benefits of stand-alone power systems include:

  • Reliability and power quality improvements – significantly less power interruptions for customers currently located on long spur lines in regional areas.
  • Better value – more cost efficient than replacing and maintaining long feeder lines.
  • Modular – each unit can be augmented to adapt to a customer’s changing energy requirements.
  • Lowers bushfire risks in regional areas.
  • Reduction in land access – asset footprint in most cases will be reduced from tens of kilometres to approximately a ten-metre squared installation.

SPS projects:

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The success of our first stand-alone power system (SPS) trial has resulted in strong interest by regional families and businesses who would love to have their own system.

At this point only those properties identified by Western Power as part of SPS Round 1 can participate in the project.

We have identified the potential participants based on where single or small clusters of customers are located on long, ageing spur lines which are due for replacement; and their annual energy consumption patterns.

SPS projects:

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The main source of stand-alone power system (SPS) generation is renewable energy, such as solar panels. This power is used immediately by the customer and excess power is stored in the battery. The battery has significant capacity to cover a customer’s needs at night and during periods where generation is low (such as several cloudy days in a row).  The system is sized to match the power use of the property to ensure it is fit for purpose.

The job of the inverter is to convert the Direct Current (DC) power to Alternating Current (AC) power appropriate for home and business use. The back-up...

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Stand-alone power systems (SPS) offers a reliable, cost-effective alternative in rural areas to vast lengths of powerlines that currently connect only small groups of customers. In selected regional locations, SPS technology is a more efficient option when compared to current and forecast network costs.

A stand-alone power system or ‘SPS’ is an energy supply unit made up of a renewable energy source or sources, a battery, inverter and, in most cases, back-up generation.  The unit operates independently of the main electricity grid to store and deliver reliable power to a household or business. It remains part of Western Power’s service area, with our business owning the unit and being responsible for the installation and ongoing maintenance.

At this point only those properties identified by Western Power based on the eligibility criteria can participate in the project. We proactively contact customers who meet the eligibility criteria.

SPS projects:

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