Photovoltaic (PV) solar systems
A solar PV power system is a technology that converts the energy from sunlight into electrical energy. Residential solar PV systems can offset much of your household's power needs, depending on the size of the system and your household's needs.
In a typical system, a set of photovoltaic modules, or 'solar panels', is installed on the roof of your home. The energy generated by these panels is passed through an inverter which creates electricity to match that coming in from the electricity network operated by Power and Water. This electricity then feeds into your local electricity network via the electricity meter. The meter records the amount of electricity produced and this information is provided by Power and Water to your electricity retailer to offset your electricity bill.
As the popularity of solar PV systems continues, Power and Water regularly updates its policy on solar PV installations to ensure the network continues to operate reliably and as many customers as possible can participate.
As of 1 May 2017, Power and Water has revised connection policy for rooftop PV and made key changes to the existing PV policy which will support customers as they try to reduce their usage and as battery technology becomes cheaper. Following changes will be implemented:
- Class 1 change from 4.5kW/6kW panel sizing to 5/7kVA inverter sizing. Battery Energy Storage (BES) allowed with ramping, export will still be limited by PV inverter install
- Class 2 now includes residential customers wishing for larger PV systems. No export allowed, BES systems may be used with ramping.
- Class 3 allows customers to install BES with ramping (sizing to be reviewed as part of assessment)
- Class 4 customers must have ramping with level to be assessed.
A 5kW solar PV system will produce enough energy to offset almost all consumption for an average domestic user, depending on the system installed.
PV for remote communities
Remote communities often run off isolated power stations and PV can have a significant impact on their stability. For this reason they are treated separately.
Alternatively, applications may be submitted to:
Remote Operations Development Team
In person: Ben Hammond Complex, Iliffe Street, Stuart Park NT 0800
Postal: GPO Box 37471 Winnellie NT 0821
Phone: 8924 5094
Fax: 8924 5121
For more information on the technical requirements to connect a PV inverter system to the supply system, refer to the Technical Requirements for Grid Connection of Photovoltaic Systems via Inverters.
The below mentioned information is updated on a regular basis. Please note that the information is subject to change based on network requirements and customer applications. All approvals are valid for six months from the application date.
Communities that have already reached allowable PV capacity are not listed.
What to consider before you buy a solar PV system
Ensure you thoroughly research all aspects of your purchase decision in relation to your environmental and financial objectives. Power and Water provides some information, however, the choice of energy source (solar, wind, diesel, grid or combination) remains with each consumer.
Going solar is one way to manage energy bills. Reducing energy consumption is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to save power and reduce emissions. Wise use of energy can result in little change to amenity or lifestyle. Go to powerwater.com.au/save for ideas on how to save power.
The cost of a solar PV system will vary depending on size, type of panels, installation type and equipment used. A solar PV fee is charged to cover the costs incurred by Power and Water.
What you can earn
For information on the solar PV buyback rate applicable to your installation contact your electricity retailer. A list of licenced electricity retailers is available from the Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory website. Power and Water is the retailer for remote communities.
The output and cost of your solar PV system will depend on the size. Look at your electricity bill and compare your energy consumption (kilowatt hours used per day) with what each system can generate.
Where you live will have an effect on the performance of your solar PV system – the more sunshine hours, the more effective your system will be. For example, systems in Alice Springs may produce more than Darwin because of less cloud cover.
Shading will adversely affect output of the system. Other things to consider are the pitch/angle of the roof and what the roof is made out of, eg a tiled roof may incur a higher installation cost compared to a corrugated iron roof.
What buyback rates apply?
For information on the solar PV buyback rate applicable to your installation contact your electricity retailer.
What Power and Water costs are involved?
The fees required are dependent on the class you are applying for.
All applications will require the solar PV fee to cover the cost of your special metering requirements and a new connection. Your fees may vary depending on your metering point setup and if additional inspections are required, ie the callout of a Power and Water crew to attend your property.
An Engineering Assessment fee is also applicable to:
- Class 3 - $560 inc. GST
- Class 4 - on a quoted basis
To review additional fees and charges please view our Pricing and tariff page.
Solar PV fees must be paid when you submit your application documentation.
As of 1 May 2017 there has been key changes to the existing class systems. The allowable class applies on a 'per lot' basis:
|PV Specifications||Storage Specifications|
|Class||Applicants||Darwin Region||Alice Springs||Katherine||Tennant Creek||Max Charge Rate||Ramp Period||Comments|
≤ 5kVA single phase
≤ 7kVA three phase
|Limited by battery inverter (max. 10kVA per phase)||12 min ramp down nominal PV inverter output to zero|
Sized by Inverter (AC)
|≤ 30kVA three phase with zero export limiter||Limited by battery inverter (max. 10kVA per phase)||12 min ramp down nominal PV inverter output to zero|
Sized by Inverter (AC)
|Class 3||Medium Commercial||≤ 200kVA three phase||≤ 100kVA three phase||As determined by assessment||12 min ramp down nominal PV inverter output to zero|
Sized by Inverter (AC)
|Class 4||Large Commercial||>200kVA three phase||>100kVA three phase||As determined by assessment||As determined by assessment|
Sized by Inverter (AC)
*NOTE: installer is responsible for ensuring that the customers service is not overloaded and that the voltage drop is within limits etc due to the embedded generation and battery charging at a customers’ property.
For specific requirements relating to each class see the PV class requirements.
Please note all rooftop PV applications for remote community sites are to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for assessment. Remote community rooftop PV application assessments are based on the system requirements and operating parameters of the particular power station. The PV class system pre-approved classes for rooftop PV do not apply in remote communities.