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 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 three 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
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 correct as of 22 June 2016. 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.
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 - on a quoted basis
- 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 August 2014 a class system has been developed to streamline the PV application process. The allowable class applies on a 'per lot' basis:
|Class||Applicants||Darwin region||Alice Springs||Katherine||Tennant Creek||Comments|
Less than or equal to 4.5 kW* single phase|
Less than or equal to 6 kW* three phase
*Sized by PV pannel array (DC)
|Class 2||Small commercial||Less than or equal to 30 kVA three phase with zero export limiter|
Sized by inverter (AC)
|Class 3||Medium commercial||Less than or equal to 200 kVA three phase||Less than or equal to 100 kVA three phase|
Sized by inverter (AC)
|Class 4||Large commercial||Greater than 200 kVA three phase||Greater than 100 kVA three phase|
Sized by inverter (AC)
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.