Solar panels help Western Power to a new record

For the first time in Western Power’s history, the minimum measured electricity demand during the day was lower than the preceding overnight minimum.

The history making event is being attributed to an abnormally warm day and the increased number of solar panels on roof tops, displacing other renewable generation and traditional sources.

Western Power estimates that, at about 1.30pm Sunday, August 14, between 350-400MW of solar energy was being utilised by customers. To put that into perspective, the solar PV’s were generating more energy than the capacity of the two biggest wind farms in the state, Collgar (206MW) and Emu Downs (79MW).

Western Power’s executive manager for asset management Seán Mc Goldrick said the benefit of the network was clear.

“The network provides customers with the opportunity to make the most of the sun when it shines and then switch seamlessly across to the network when it doesn’t,” he said.

Western Power traditionally has lower demand on weekends and school holidays, however, this is the first time day time usage has dropped below night time usage.

By 4pm network demand soared as customers returned to drawing power from the network.