EnviroGroup and DELWP deliver bushfire-proof, clean power, off-grid to 3 households in rural Victoria

The project involved replacing powerlines – or single wire earth return (SWER) lines – with combination off-grid solar and battery systems, known as Stand-Alone Power Systems (SAPS). The latest project in partnership with DELWP (Department of Energy, Land, Water and Planning), is just the most recent example of our long-standing track record of large scale, highly-innovative solar battery projects.

Funded entirely by grants under the Victorian Powerline Replacement Fund, EnviroGroup provided solar PV SAPS to three remote South-West Victorian properties at the end of conventional SWER lines. The goal was a reliable system that could rival the power quality of the lines, provide uninterrupted power supply in emergency situations and allow for the removal of the dangerous and costly powerlines to each property.

According to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (VBRC), rural powerlines pose a significant bushfire risk. Bare-wire, high voltage powerlines in rural wooded areas are hazardous in the height of Australia’s summers. Spanning sometimes kilometres to power remote single residences, the lines are also incredibly expensive and difficult for power companies to maintain, costs which are passed on to others in the same electricity network.

Typically solar and battery systems are installed directly on to a garage, shed or outdoor wall, which limits the maximum size of a system. Stand-alone off-grid systems larger than a few kilowatts are still rare in the Australia. The smallest of the SAPS systems for this project has a capacity of over 10kW, and as large as 21.6 kW, demanding complex engineering solutions from EnviroGroup.

To combat the size limits, EnviroGroup developed custom designed battery units housed in “Mini Cube” steel containers. Modularizing the SAPS components allowed us to prefabricate the systems off-site, reducing the install time and costs and minimising interruptions to the homeowners. The containerised module includes added temperature and air regulation, and is a secure, singular unit away from the rest of the residence, making for a much safer lithium-ion battery bank.

 

Knowing the project was innovative and technically complex, EnviroGroup dedicated all its available resources. All of our A-grade and apprentice electricians (over 10 staff) spent many days on site in Gellibrand, bearing torrential rains and knee-deep mud to get the ground mounted array up and running.

The impressive SAPS design and implementation has been celebrated, by both the residents of the properties and by DELWP. Delivering reliable power and mitigating the bushfire risk to the properties, the SAP system is everything it set out to be.

EnviroGroup has already been approached by other clients interested in the design solution. If you want to find out more about your custom off-grid options, contact us now.