Mandora Station is a remote, family-run cattle station situated in the rural how West Kimberley region of Western Australia. The owners, Haydn Sale and family, take pride in their commitment to sustainable animal handling and land management practices.
As well as being off-grid due to its remote location, Mandora is big. 94,000-hectares big. Yet while Mandora’s location and climate made it the perfect location for an investment in solar, until recently it was almost wholly reliant on diesel for power.
“Our cattle are our life and we love seeing them happy and contented,” Haydn explains, “but diesel was becoming increasingly expensive and not reliable enough to keep up with modern demands.”
“We’ve been burning 27,500L of diesel fuel every year, which, including generator servicing fees, was costing us over $35,000 (£20,000), even before factoring in maintenance personnel, parts and replacement costs.”
A solar and lithium standalone power system would give Mandora access to an infinitely cleaner, more reliable, better value energy source. It would enable the station to move away from diesel, which is costly, operationally challenging, and environmentally unsustainable.
The challenge, and ultimately the project’s tipping point, was to find a payment option that enabled the savings in diesel expenses to be used towards the cost of the system.
In partnership with Northern Australian off-grid solar and battery specialists, GenOffGrid who are established in Broome, Darwin and Karratha, the team at Mandora was excited to be introduced to a Smart Ease payment plan.
“The approval process was fast and simple,” Haydn says. “Our Smart Ease payment plan has enabled us to preserve precious capital for other investments and meant our transition to solar could happen quicker.”
GenOffGrid’s solar lithium diesel microgrid comprising:
56kWh of battery storage
30kW A/C output power
35kVA back-up generator
All designed and installed to a Cyclone Region D rating
Tonnes of emissions saved:
Significant CO2 output reduction of 66,000kg CO2 per year
How much of self-generated power is solar?
The farm is not connected to the grid and generates 95 % solar power.
Energy bill reduction: 90%
Avg net savings in year 1:
approx. $5,000 (£2,800)
Estimated savings per year before finance (gross):
$31k – $32k (approx £18k)
Payment plan term: 7 years
Channel partner: GenoffGrid
Industry: Agriculture & farming
Remarkably, within the first month, the station has already reduced its diesel usage down to 2% of its overall energy consumption.
The new system will reduce Mandora’s annual diesel costs to less than $3,500 (£2,000) with resulting savings exceeding its Smart Ease payments over the 7 year plan. After that, the energy cost savings will be upwards of $30,000 (£17,000) per year for the remaining life of the system.
On the enormous potential impact of solar for remote properties like Mandora, GenOffGrid’s Scott Clothier says, “we’ve developed an off-grid system that can replace economically replace diesel… and allow a cattle station like Mandora to operate almost exclusively on energy from the sun.”
Additionally, Mandora’s converting to solar will produce a significant CO2 output reduction, to the tune of 66,000kg CO2 per year.
“Our new solar and battery systems will provide us with a more cost-effective and cleaner solution, with very limited maintenance requirements and no downtime,” concludes Haydn.
“Smart Ease has been fundamental to our power generation being completely de-risked for at least the next 10 years, saving us money and freeing us up to do what we love: keeping our cattle happy!”