Solar and battery enabled rural communities to go off the grid

Author: Darvin Tocmo  Date Posted:9 August 2016 

Western Australia farmers relied on unpredictable electricity supply for many years. They did until solar and battery became an option.

Western Australia farmers relied on unpredictable electricity supply for many years. They did until solar and battery became an option.  

Australia: Rural communities into off the grid

A group of farmers in Western Australia can finally say no to the grid. After decades of having to put up with its unreliable supply, they now have solar and battery system.

Solar and battery system changes everything in rural communities. Well, people here do not have the luxury of a stable electricity supply. To them, this is not just a matter of environmental concern or an attempt to lower electricity bills.

Solar and battery, if proven reliable, means goodbye to all the hassles of their old power supply.

Woes of grid connection

It’s not unusual for Western Australia farmers to buy their own generators as back-up. Fluctuations happen frequently, particularly during summer. Therefore, they needed generators to continue the day-to-day operations of their business.

Their suffering did not end with purchasing generators. They also needed to spend a lot on devices that protect equipment during unexpected power shortages. These devices were present on almost every electrical item. Apparently, spikes are more consistent than the power supply.

Unfortunately, this scenario is not only experienced in rural communities in Western Australia. It is a nationwide problem that plagues most edge-of-grid communities in Australia.

Solar and battery at last

WA Farmers are hopeful that solar power can make them live off-the-grid. This move has the full support of the State Government. As proof, it shouldered the $150,000 cost of standalone solar and battery system.

WA’s Liberal-National Government commits to investing in the technology. Renewables such as wind and solar power make sense financially. Louis Kent, an energy scientist, and an economist said that the system could help lower energy costs. It could if it's used as part of the nation’s energy mix.

Kent added that it also helped that the cost of grid connection increased while solar and battery price decreased.

The farmers are not yet bidding the grid adieu as they still have to test the sun’s power until next year. They are positive, however, that it’s going to work well for them.