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 used by 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 August 2014, Power and Water has improved the application process such that domestic PV systems can be connected to the power network without undertaking extensive investigations. The maximum size that can be installed on a normal residential dwelling is a 4.5kW array. For dwellings with a 3 phase connection a 6kW array can be connected without undertaking extensive investigations.

A 4.5kW solar PV system will produce enough energy to offset up to 75% of the average domestic consumption, depending on the system installed. A 6kW solar PV system will produce enough energy to offset almost all consumption for an average domestic user, depending on the system installed.

For non-domestic customers an incremental “class” system has been established and additional requirements and/or investigation is required.

PV for remote communities

Please note all rooftop PV applications (using the Power Purchase Agreement form) for the following remote communities are to be sent to RemoteCommunityServicingNorth@powerwater.com.au for assessment.

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

Email: RemoteCommunityServicingNorth@powerwater.com.au

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.

What to consider before you buy a solar PV system

  • ResearchEnsure 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.
  • Energy efficiencyGoing 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.
  • CostThe 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 earnFor information on the solar PV buyback rate applicable to your installation contact your electricity retailer eg. Jacana Energy. A list of licenced electricity retailers is available from the Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory website.
  • SizeThe 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.
  • LocationWhere 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.
  • Roof specificationShading 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, eg.Jacana Energy. A list of licenced electricity retailers is available from the

Utilities Commission of the Northern Territory website.

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:

  • Single Phase Meter: $546.08
  • Three Phase Meter:  $750.04

The above fees are current as at 1 July 2015.

An Engineering Assessment fee is also applicable to:

  • Class 3 - on a quoted basis
  • Class 4 - on a quoted basis

Additional costs, if applicable, will be added to your next bill. To review additional fees and charges please view the pricing and tariff section.

Solar PV fees must be paid when you submit your application documentation.

The PV class system

As of 1 August 2014 a class system has been developed to streamline the PV application process. The allowable class applies on a 'per lot' basis:

PV class system 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 RemoteCommunityServicingNorth@powerwater.com.au 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.