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the Breeze

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In recent weeks, our islands have been unfortunate to have had power cut for extensive periods of time.

In some cases, it has been up to six occasions and from periods of time ranging from several hours to almost a full day.

An active late Spring storm season has been the cause of most, along with the propensity of trees close to power lines in our island habitat.

It is a simple equation: large trees close to power lines = loss of power, eventually!

Russell Island IT tech Travis Place has long been aware of our susceptibility to extensive power cuts.

“The islands are always going to have power cuts given our demographic of trees in proximity to power lines,” he told The Friendly Bay Islander.

And because his IT business relies on continual connectivity, he has to have a reliable and continual source of electrical supply.

“I decided to ensure that I had continual supply of electricity. And that means I would need a solar system that was not dependent on the power grid. That meant I would need a solar system that has battery storage” Travis said.

[Solar electrical systems are very effective whilst it is daytime and, in particular, if the sun is shining. However, they are a direct system which means they do not generate power at night, unless you also have a solar battery which stores energy for night time use.]

Travis called on island solar expert Radnor (Smiley) Sansoni of Watts Up Electrical and Solar.

Watts Up supplied an Alpha-ESS eStore system, which consists of a GoodWe GW5048-EM Hybrid Inverter and a 10.3kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery which was added to his existing solar panel system.

Travis Pace has a family of six, with children quite active in utilising both IT and electrical power.

“I got Watts Up back to install 20 more panels on my roof. I now have a total of 46 solar panels on the roof of the house. We export $10-15 of power back to the grid most days, and our bills are now credits. For one month, we got $183 credit.

Travis added: “Smiley put us onto another power company called Discover Energy who are offering 25c/kWh” (as opposed to the 6c that his previous supplier offered) for users with battery storage.

“I have found the system we have installed more than adequately handles the power we consume.

“The batteries provide the additional power we need into the early hours of the morning,” Travis told The Friendly Bay Islander.

He said he was aware of the recent power breaks on the islands.

“I know we had several here on Russell Island.

“They had no impact here.

“In the event of a blackout, our battery could easily see us through a night and then get recharged during the following day ensuring a continuous power supply.

“We would not have known there was a major power outage had I not built into our system a warning that advises there is a power blackout in our island neighbourhood.”

Travis is delighted with his solar outcome.

It came with some Government bonuses and discounts and even though the initial installation is reasonable, its value to his business far outweighs any cost disadvantages.

A bonus

“Going solar is perfect for our islands. It allows us to be autonomous and independent of those annoying and very regular blackouts,” Travis added.

Now Travis is converting his home to be fully automated; a perfect outcome from a recognised IT innovator, but more on this at a later time.

• Travis and his Battery storage system.

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