How Horizon Power is using solar to slash its fossil fuel subsidies

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Solar plant at Meekatharra eases crippling cost burden of diesel generation, as “cloud predictive” technology allows W.A. gold town to go 80% solar at times without a battery.

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One Step Off The Grid

A 450kW solar farm built to augment a costly diesel power station that powers the Western Australian town of Meekatharra, has “exceeded all expectations ” – even without battery storage, Horizon Power has said.

As we have reported, the state-owned utility that covers all but the south-west corner of the country’s biggest state has long supported a mind-boggling fossil fuel subsidy, that guarantees its 50,000 customers pay no more than the 26c/kWh charged in Perth.

In the case of Meekatharra – a gold town in Western Australia’s mid-west – every customer has been subsidised by roughly $3,900 a year, to cover the cost of generation from the diesel-fuelled, 1.8MW Meekatharra Power Station.

The addition of solar – 100kW at first, and ultimately 450kW – over the course of 2017, however, has immediately cut costs for the state, and cut the use of diesel by around 20 per cent.

As Horizon explained it this week, the solar solution came about when Contract Power Australia, who commissioned the diesel power station in 2014, proposed installing an PV farm adjacent to the diesel plant, and the two parties share the reduced fuel costs.

The solar augmentation was funded and built CPA’s related business Hybrid Systems Australia (HSA) and CPA.

To read the full story on RenewEconomy sister site, One Step Off The Grid, click here…

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