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Why we love Stand-alone Power Systems 

WA has one of the largest isolated electricity networks in the world.  

So that presents us with an interesting challenge. We need to continue providing our customers with reliable and safe power, while also bringing more renewables onto the grid as we undergo an exciting energy transformation. And do it all in a cost-effective way. 

An innovative solution to this challenge is our Stand-alone Power Systems. 

Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) have redefined the way we provide access to power in regional areas. 

It was one of the first new technologies we introduced as part of our wider energy transformation, to provide safe and reliable power to customers in regional and remote parts of the grid. 

SPS really are a win for everyone – our customers have access to renewable and a more reliable power, the community benefits from a reduced bushfire risk (by decommissioning many thousands of kms of overhead powerlines and replacing with SPS) and the grid’s network maintenance costs are reduced.

Many more SPS on the way for WA

We’re investing in this innovative energy solution, with up to 4000 SPS to be rolled out across the grid over the coming decade. 

With the installation of these 4000 units comes the progressive decomissioning of approx 15,000 kms of overhead powerline. We’re off to a cracking start - with more than 150 SPS units installed in regional WA, and strong customer satisfaction.


Smart off-grid power solutions for regional WA

Stand-alone Power Systems are redefining how we deliver power to our remote customers.

As WA is home to one of the largest island grids in the world, delivering electricity across such a vast network can be challenging. Some customers rely on long stretches of powerlines which can easily be affected by environmental factors - wind, rain, vegetation contact and lightning - so power isn't always reliable and maintaining these lines can be costly.

But Stand-Alone Power Systems, or SPS for short, are changing all that.

How do SPS work?

Stand-alone Power Systems are off-grid systems that operate independently from the main network. Each SPS consists of a renewable energy supply such as solar panels, battery energy storage system and a backup generator, making them completely self-sufficient power units. 

Energy is generated through the solar panels, providing power to the property and keeping the unit’s battery charged for when the battery is depleted. The generator kicks in when the battery is low to keep energy flowing. Watch the video to see SPS in action. 

Under the program, Western Power pays for the transition to SPS and for the operation and maintenance of the unit.

What are the benefits of Stand-alone Power Systems?

  • Improved power reliability: power is generated on-site, so customers don’t have to rely on long powerlines for their power supply. Power outages have been reduced by around 90%. 

  • More renewables: up to 90% of the SPS electricity comes from solar panels and the solar energy stored in the battery, providing a greener energy source to power homes and businesses

  • Tailored to customers: SPS units come in different sizes so they are installed to suit the individual customer’s energy needs.

  • Small footprint: The SPS footprint is a maximum of 400sqm, so it doesn’t take up much space and can be used in many different situations and locations.

  • Reduced bushfire risk: with SPS installed, powerlines and poles in the area become redundant. These are then ‘switched off’ and decommissioned, significantly reducing the risk of bushfire.

  • Lower maintenance costs: as poles and powerlines can be removed, there is less network to monitor and maintain which reduces maintenance costs.

When did we start installing SPS across WA?

In 2016, we launched a trial at six farming properties in the Great Southern. During the three-year trial, more than 189 hours of outages were avoided.

The trial’s success led to the roll out of an additional 52 units in 2020 and 72 in 2022 – but it doesn’t end there. 

180 SPS units are planned before the end of 2024 with up to 4000 SPS to be rolled out across the grid over the coming decade. 

Our modelling predicts more than 6000 units being deployed over the coming decades.  

Why are SPS an ideal energy solution for WA?

With such a vast and isolated network, off-grid systems like the SPS are ideal solutions for remote areas.

But there’s more to it than just being a self-sufficient power unit.

Over the past five years, they have transformed power in regional areas. And with a decentralised and decarbonised energy future ahead of us, SPS are going to be a major player.

Why is SPS a game-changer?

The future for SPS is now. Discover why (and how) SPS will be a major player in WA's energy future. 

What SPS means for WA’s future

What do customers think about SPS?

For cattle farmer Ken Schlueter (pictured), and wheat and sheep farmer, Tania Willmott, life on the farm has been tricky without reliable power.

“When we get a bit of drizzle, then the power can go out for at least a day,” said Tania.

Ken and Tania, who’s properties are both located in the Great Southern, experienced power reliability issues due to the long powerlines feeding their properties.

But when they received a SPS, they said a cheery ‘goodbye’ to power outages.

Western Power SPS customer research summary report

Here's what our SPS customers said...

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Ken Schlueter

"We rely so heavily on power. During shearing season we have the wool press on, then all the lights in the shed not to mention the freezers in the cool rooms, electric fences and the welders - pulling in all this current. The continual supply of power is what it's all about for us, our business and life on the farm. But it's also environmentally friendly, takes up little space and unobtrusive, I think that’s a word!"

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Romina Nicoletti

"There’s 42km of poles and wires running to that transformer and we’re hoping they will be able to get rid of them as they won’t be needed. We’d be really pleased about that as they are a bushfire risk and a bit of a pain when you are trying to crop around poles..."

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Kelvin & Lara Kent

"Buying a generator would have cost us around $10,000, so the timing for getting SPS was good as it saves us on that cost, as well as giving us more reliable power.”

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Barry Heydenrych

“As well as giving us better power supply, it would reduce our bushfire risk as the poles and wires in the area won’t need to be used.”

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Ian McKenna

“I knew about the Ravensthorpe trial and thought it sounded great, so I’d been hoping it would come here. That unit will be enough for the house, given I’ve even got a wood-fired hot water system.”

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Tania Willmott

“As well as not having to tidy up around the poles, we don’t need to touch the SPS units. Western Power even come out to check and fill up the back-up generator for us, so we don’t need to touch anything.”