Solar and storage made WA blackouts tolerable
Author: Darvin Tocmo Date Posted:24 May 2017
Blackouts are not unheard of in Western Australia’s outback towns. Luckily, some farmers had their properties already installed with solar and storage.
The Esperance bushfire seemed eons ago, but its effects are still fresh from the minds of the residents. And despite the massive destruction brought by the fire, it also started something good. Some farmers sampled solar and storage.
Grid dependency to solar independence
Residents then were only familiar with the unreliable power from the grid. When fire destroyed the electrical connections of some outback towns, network operator Horizon Power offered some affected farmers the option to go solar.
Solar was not yet a popular choice that time, but the farmers held on to the promise of more sustainable and economical energy source. Little did they know that solar and storage would be the start of something better, especially during blackouts.
Whenever blackouts happen, farmers with solar and storage suddenly gain popularity. Neighbors go and visit them instead of enduring blackouts at their own homes. Well, very few houses in Esperance and Ravensthorpe are solar-powered so power outages often look like blackout parties.
Solar and storage installations in WA
Queensland and New South Wales are still on top in terms of new solar installations. However, Western Australia inches to the third place, overtaking Victoria. Warwick Johnston of SunWiz commented that solar increase in WA is the most remarkable outtake based on industry research.
What’s interesting about this uptake is that WA is politically-conservative, but it is now open to changing views on solar energy. Renewables gained popularity in the state and it has its rising solar statistics as proof.
Solar installations, according to Johnston, spiked before 2016 ended and continued on into 2017. The first quarter of 2017 was apparently the industry’s strongest, thanks to Horizon Power’s efforts. The company’s solar and storage projects in Esperance and Ravensthorpe largely contributed in the growth of solar power systems.