If you live in the Northern Territory and are considering moving to solar power, good for you! And you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know before you buy, including links to detailed, up-to-date information that has been put together by the Solar Choice team to help guide you in this important decision.
How does solar energy work to power your home?
First things first. Installing a solar power system on the roof of your home is a big decision and investment, so it’s useful to understand the basics of how solar power works.
While the concept is simple – panels on the roof capture the energy of the sun and convert it to electricity – there’s a bit more to it than that. Your solar system will need to interact with the electricity grid and there are some important things you need to understand about this.
And of course, while solar power is a big investment, the payback is reduced (or eliminated) electricity bills and a meaningful contribution to reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions.
Should you install a solar battery?
Solar batteries have come a long way since we did our first analysis of them in 2017. That’s great news if you’re looking to purchase and install a new solar system now, because a battery could be a key part of it.
Solar batteries are very useful in matching the capture of solar energy by your rooftop panels during the day, and typical high use of electricity in the evening and at night when the sun isn’t shining.
Before we had solar batteries, energy generated and unused during the day was wasted or exported back to the grid (earning a feed-in tariff which is covered in more detail below), and when energy consumption increased after dark, energy was purchased from the grid (at peak purchase rates).
Solar batteries simplify things by storing solar power generated during the day for when you typically need it at night when your solar panels are dormant. But the cost of a solar battery (among other things) needs to be factored into your calculations for solar system cost and payback period.
This article provides a comprehensive look at solar batteries including how they work, how much they cost, what size battery you might need and the payback period of your solar system and battery.
What about Government incentives and rebates?
The Australian Federal Government provides an incentive for residential (or small) solar systems under the Renewable Energy Target (RET). Rebates are calculated based on your location (or ‘zone’), the size of the system you install and its expected output until 2030 when the rebate will cease. Learn more about how the rebate scheme works here.
The rebate is significant – worth potentially a few thousand dollars on the cost of a residential solar system. Importantly, your solar retailer/installer will claim the rebate, and it will already be factored in to the cost of your system. So when you compare prices between various retailers/installers, the price they advertise is the price you will have to pay.
What are feed-in tariffs and how do they work?
You’ve likely heard about feed-in tariffs, which are payments for the clean energy that your solar panels feed back into the grid. Feed-in tariff policy is guided by each State and Territory Government around Australia, and they have been subject to many changes in recent years. These tariffs can also be influenced by the policies of your energy provider.
While feed-in tariffs are nowhere near as high as they were in years gone by, they are also not nearly as important. They were once needed to offset the relatively high cost of purchasing and installing solar systems, which are now much more efficient and cost-effective. In addition, the volatile and increasing cost of electricity in recent years also offers a big incentive to install solar to take control of this large household cost.
An overview of state-by-state feed-in tariffs can be found here.
Where you live matters when it comes the cost of solar systems and electricity
Depending on where you live, the cost and payback period of solar power is different. It might not occur to you, but where you live also influences how much sun will be received by your solar panels, and how much power they can therefore generate.
This has a direct impact on the size of the solar system you need to generate enough power for your home to cover your solar self-consumption, and the amount you might receive as feed-in tariffs for any excess electricity you generate to export to the grid.
If you’re in Darwin or the Northern Territory, this article looks in detail at all of the factors you need to be aware of when selecting a solar system for your home, including the costs and the likely payback period based on a number of factors.
Need more help?
Solar Choice is a trusted name in solar, used by over 1 million people every year. We are independent, and bring residential and business customers a pre-vetted network of over 200 installers Australia-wide. We are here to help you make an informed decision, and remain an impartial source of information.
You can contact us here.