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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 Power and Water 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 access the program.
As of 1 July 2012, Power and Water increased the maximum size of domestic PV systems which can be connected to the power network without undertaking extensive investigations. The maximum size that can be installed on a residential dwelling is a 4.5kW array before an investigation is required.
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.
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.
- Energy efficiency
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
The solar PV buyback rate may be subject to change.
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.
- Roof specification
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.
|Type of meter||1 Jan 2013 (cents/kWh)|
Flat buyback rate:
Standard flat rate:
(Time of Use)
Peak (6am - 6pm):
Off-peak (6pm - 6am):
* Rates are subject to change and are valid from 1 January 2013. Tariffs are subject to regulatory approval.
Buyback rates are based on gross production. The Commercial ‘Time of Use’ buyback rate can only be used in conjunction with the Commercial ‘Time of Use Consumption’ tariff.
A customised rate will be negotiated for solar PV systems greater than 30kVA and for customers consuming greater or equal to 750 000kWh.
The solar PV fee covers 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: $521.96
- Three Phase Meter: $671.63
The above fees are current as at 1 July 2012.
Additional costs, if applicable, will be added to your next bill. To review additional fees and charges please view the pricing section.
Solar PV fees must be paid when you submit your application documentation, see the application process below.
Please note that you must have approval from Power and Water Corporation prior to any installation works commencing.
We recommend a site inspection by an accredited installer to confirm that your house is suitable for installation. A list of installers can be found at yellowpages.com.au.
The installer can help you lodge the application to connect to the electricity network and complete the following two agreements that need to be in place:
- Network Connection Agreement (Power Networks - Photovoltaic Inverter Network Connection Agreement)
- Power Purchase Agreement
Please submit your two agreements, wiring diagram and fee at the beginning of the approval process. The equipment, including the inverter, must comply with current Power and Water Technical Requirements for Grid Connection of Photovoltaic Systems via Inverters and ESAA Australian Guidelines for Grid Connection of Energy Systems via Inverters. After applications have been approved a letter of approval will be issued.