We’re powering ahead with an off-grid solution that will deliver a more reliable energy supply to regional and remote customers.
Living or working on the edge of the grid comes with its challenges. For us, it’s about maintaining vast kilometres of poles and wires that may only service a few properties. The distance and landscape can often make maintaining lines and identifying and fixing faults more difficult, time consuming and costly.
For customers, power supply in these areas is more prone to being impacted by weather events such as bushfires, floods and lightning strikes, including wildlife and falling branches and trees.
It’s conditions like these that make it even more critical for regional and remote areas to have access to a safe and reliable source of power.
How can we do this? One way is with stand-alone power systems.
What is a stand-alone power system?
A stand-alone power system or SAPS is an alternative off-grid energy solution that runs independently from the main electricity grid. It provides renewable energy to a single property via solar panels, battery storage, an inverter and often a backup generator.
SAPS enables customers in rural and remote areas to have their own power source, which improves power reliability. It’s a cleaner and greener alternative, and it’s safer too.
How does it work?
Designed to replace the traditional pole and wires grid connection, a stand alone power system uses solar PV panels, inverters and battery storage to supply a consistent, clean, off-grid power source to a property.
Creating a continuous energy supply – rain, hail or shine
The solar panels generate electricity during daylight hours with any excess energy used to charge the battery. The battery then provides power at night or when the sun isn’t shining. A back-up generator also kicks in when the battery is low to keep energy flowing 24 hours a day.
The job of the inverter is to convert the Direct Current (DC) power to Alternating Current (AC) power, making it compatible for use with household plant and appliances.
Why do SAPS make sense in rural and remote areas?
Regional customers with properties located at the end of long overhead power lines often experience longer interruptions. They are more affected by outages caused by weather events and routine line maintenance than their urban neighbours.
SAPS benefits customers in the following ways:
Greater power reliability
Being able to generate your own electricity removes the need for traditional poles and wires, where power supply and reliability can be low.
SAPS is also less vulnerable to wildlife and weather events such as floods and bushfires, which can significantly reduce electricity outages for customers.
It can be cheaper to supply energy to customers using SAPS than it is to maintain or replace the vast expanses of poles and wires. This lowers our operating costs, which can be passed down to the customer.
Cleaner, greener energy solution
SAPS harnesses the latest in renewable energy technology, reducing our environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.
A safer community
With no poles and wires to maintain, SAPS reduce the risk of bushfires, can minimise farming hazards and is safer for birds.
Where are we trialling SAPS?
We have been trialling a SAP unit for customers in Kangaroo Valley since April 2020. This has been providing our customer with supply which would otherwise have been unavailable due to the bushfire damage to the network.
We’re currently planning another SAP unit in Kandos National Park, which is expected to be rolled out in 2022. We have also identified another 5 to 10 potential areas of the network where SAPS could be economically viable.
Click here to learn more about our other Projects & Initiatives
The future looks bright for SAPS
SAPS can provide customers in regional and remote areas with a safer and more reliable power than the traditional poles and wires network.
We’re already at the starting line and with technology on our side, we’ll keep powering to deliver customers more choice in how they receive energy in the future.