Blog Post

Reliable Power for New Zealand Grid Edge Farms and Homes

In rural New Zealand, electricity distributor Powerco deployed Base Power off-grid renewable energy units to both supplement grid power for some customers and provide a complete alternative to grid electricity supply for other customers. To ensure reliable power delivery throughout its entire service area, Powerco chose to deploy the Base Power distributed generation assets as a more cost effective alternative to upgrading its grid.

Constructed by local contractors The Downs Group, each Base Power unit generates electricity with solar panels, and stores excess energy production in PHI batteries. To ensure uninterrupted 24/7 electricity, a diesel generator is also integrated into Base Power units to provide backup power in the case of prolonged inclement weather.

Farmer Hans Brink and his wife Michelle now have a Base Power unit installed on their farm. In 33 years of farming their 700 hectare (1730 acre) sheep, cattle and forestry property, the Brinks had experienced power outages of up to two weeks on more than one occasion. Like many farmers in New Zealand, the Brinks had relied on power poles and lines that spanned vast stretches of land prone to mudslides, floods and falling trees -- disrupting electricity supplies without warning, especially during storms.

Located 50 km from the main road and 65 km from the nearest shop, the Brink’s farm relies on seven freezers for food supplies and requires power to care for their sheep and cattle.

"When you're at the end of the line like we were, you're at the mercy of the whole grid," Hans said. “We’ve had a [Base Power] system like this now for two years and we don’t even think about power cuts at all. It just doesn’t happen.”