Horizon Power To Allow More Solar Installations In Regional Western Australia

Solar energy in regional Western Australia

Image: MrRick

Western Australia’s government has announced more households and businesses in regional WA will have the opportunity to install rooftop solar panels.

In some parts of the state, Horizon Power only allows a small percentage of electricity to be generated by solar energy in order to protect fragile grids in various locations.

An example of just how tough it is to gain permission for installing solar power in parts of WA is Broome. Broome’s postcode (6725) is home to around 10,795 people and there are approximately 5,696 dwellings (Census 2016).

When we reported on the issue in May last year there were just 357 solar power systems installed in postcode 6725 (figure to April 30, 2018). By May 30 this year, there were approximately 366 installations in place according to Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator. That’s an increase of just 9 systems over 13 months and how many of those were off-grid isn’t clear.

It’s not that there isn’t any interest in solar in Broome, but that Horizon customers have been refused permission to install panels. Apparently, some residents in regional WA have been waiting close to a decade for permission to install a solar power system.

Yesterday the McGowan Government announced that from July 1, 2019 an additional 10 megawatts of small scale installations will be able to connect to Horizon Power systems. Towns that will benefit include the regional centres of Karratha, Port Hedland, Kununurra, Derby, Carnarvon, Esperance – and Broome.

Horizon’s change of heart has come about partly as a result in a change in technical requirements, knowledge gained from recent trials and advances in technology.

“There is a growing demand among our customers to install rooftop solar,” said Horizon Power Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Unwin. “Our customers are wanting more sustainable, affordable energy options and this is just one of the ways in which we are meeting this demand.”

How Many Solar Systems Is 10MW?

Based on 6kW solar power systems featuring 5kW inverters, 2,000 systems could potentially be installed in areas to benefit from the change – but what capacity limits will be in place for systems and how the 10MW will be divvied up between the areas remains to be seen.

Horizon has also stated that from 1 July 2019, all solar connection applications must comply with its new technical requirements. However, these new requirements along with hosting capacity limits for various areas won’t be released until July 1, so there could be some devils in the detail yet to come to light. Horizon customers in the areas to benefit will be able to assess their eligibility for rooftop solar and apply for a connection via the Horizon website from that date.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Derbyiter says

    Lol, it is now claiming they want ‘ management ‘ there of them !
    # That is the sneaky side of it all & allowing them the access to be enabled to switching them ON/OFF …
    I.e;- stop’m from supplying any outgoing excess ( un-used power ) is what it’s all now about…..
    Prior to this ( NEW RELEASE OF SOLAR INSTALLATIONS ) they had a yearly fee/maintenance cost of $15,000 per year on us, in the nor-west of W.A. to do so !

    Foot Note –
    From a electrical contractor of the Kimberley’s ( myself, is how i know ! )

  2. Chris devan says

    Horizon power is just another rip off government bully
    We have a useless solar power system.
    Horizon power won’t let us reconnect back with the grid.
    Seems like we are generating too much power back through and they are making money

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