New Solar SPS Rollout In Esperance Soon

Solar stand-alone power systems in regional Western Australia

Esperance is to be the first area in regional Western Australia to benefit from another standalone power system (SPS, aka SAPS) rollout in the state.

The McGowan Government has previously committed to delivering 1,000 SPS units across WA over the next five years. $45.8 million has been earmarked for Horizon Power to install 150 systems in the regions by 2025, and the first 50 from this funding will be installed in the Esperance region starting January next year.

Each SPS will consist of solar panels, an inverter, battery storage and back-up diesel generation; with systems sized according to customer electricity requirements. The diesel component shouldn’t see a huge amount of use as the systems are expected to provide an average 80 per cent of requirements from solar energy. There will be no change in electricity costs for customers with an SPS.

This isn’t just about delivering cleaner power, but also cutting down on poles-and-wires maintenance costs and boosting electrical safety. With these systems in place, 260 kilometres of ageing overhead powerlines can be taken down.

“Western Australia is leading the way in the green energy evolution, improving safety and reliability in regional areas at the same time,” said WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston.

These won’t be the first government-funded SPS installations in the Esperance region – there have been dozens of units rolled out previously. As was the case in the last batch, this one is occurring via Boundary Power – a joint venture between  Horizon Power and integrated electrical solutions provider Ampcontrol Limited . Boundary Power produces several different SPS solutions, including the Nano-SAPSR-Series and award-winning Solar Qube at its facility in Perth.

Nine SPS units have already been constructed ready for installation and 41 of the 50 systems are spoken for by customers in Beaumont, Munglinup and East Munglinup.

Other States In SPS Catchup Mode

Western Australia has been leading the way on SPS adoption in fringe-of-grid areas. Up until recently,  Distributed Network Services Providers (DNSPs) that are regulated under the National Electricity Rules (NER)1  have been unable to offer such solutions to existing customers. But this changed on August 1, 2022.

Renewables In The Esperance Region

The Esperance region is really starting to get its renewables game on and there will be a lot more to come. A big boost has been in the form of the Shark Lake Renewables Hub, which was officially opened in May this year. It consists of:

  • A 4MW solar farm
  • Two new 4.5MW wind turbines (replacing old turbines)
  • A 4MW battery energy storage system
  • A 22MW gas power station

Wind and solar energy from the Hub are expected to generate up to 46% of Esperance’s electricity requirements (the town, not the region).

Added to all that, solar panels in Esperance and across the region are a fairly common sight on the rooftops of homes and businesses. But uptake of grid-connect rooftop solar power has been constrained due to network hosting capacity limitations. Whenever spare capacity is freed up by Horizon Power, it has been snapped up very quickly. Horizon Power has a goal of enabling all households and businesses wanting to install solar panels to be able to do so by 2025.


  1. WA has a separate legislative framework.
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.

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