Cutting-edge solar units to relieve farms, rural businesses

Cutting-edge solar units

Cutting-edge solar units

Relief is in sight for farmers and other rural people suffering from electricity supply problems.

Electricity distributor Powerco has developed a cutting-edge unit called Base Power.

After last month’s storms caused massive damage to power poles and lines in the Central Plateau, Powerco provided five Base Power units to remote customers, giving them an uninterrupted electricity supply.

Base Power is an all-in-one system that generates renewable electricity from photovoltaic solar panels for homes, work places, small shearing sheds, dairy farms (supplements cowshed supply), and the likes of communication towers and back-country huts. Excess energy is stored in batteries, with a diesel generator providing back-up.

Powerco may provide Base Power units to some of its remote, rural customers. Base Power will be an alternative to electricity supply from the national grid, where the cost to upgrade the network and improve supply is not cost effective.

Powerco Electricity Commercial Manager Eric Pellicer said Base Power would offer peace of mind to some of the company’s most remote customers.

“We know that power cuts are disruptive for people and we know some remote rural areas are prone to repeated and prolonged power cuts. We see Base Power as a way to give our most remote customers a reliable power supply no matter the conditions, without having to rely solely on traditional power poles and lines,” Mr Pellicer said.

Mr Pellicer said the new units were likely to be installed on remote properties in Taranaki, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Waikato and Coromandel.

The new Base Power units are being constructed at a rate of two a month by Marton-based company, The Downs Group.

Powerco has initially approved the supply of 20 new units following a successful six-year Base Power trial in nine locations. The new units have been redesigned with high-tech specifications and to allow transport by helicopter to locations that are unreachable by road.

Base Power is easy to run and maintain – typically, units only require a top-up of diesel from time-to-time. Most Base Power units supply 230 volts at 50 Hz, which is the same as the national grid. This allows users to continue their lives normally.