The criteria for having solar PV systems connected to the grid differ from state to state. Due to the occurrence of seasonal cyclones, Northern Territory rooftop solar PV installations in Darwin and the Top End are subject to a number of additional hurdles that other state residents may not necessarily have to worry about.
Checking the boxes for solar power grid-connection in the NT
1. You or your Installer contact an approved Electricity Distributor to lodge the two necessary agreements:
- The Network Connection Agreement (Photovoltaic Inverter Network Connection Agreement)
- The Power Purchase Agreement
2. Your electricity distributor issues Approval to Connect to you or your nstaller
3. Obtain building permits (especially in Darwin and the Top End: see below)
4. Your solar power system is installed
5. All the system equipment, including the inverter, must comply with the current Power and Water Requirements for Grid Connection of Photovoltaic Systems via Inverters and ESAA Australian Guidelines for Grid Connection of Energy Systems via Inverters.
6. An inspection of the installed solar system is carried out by a level 2 accredited service provider (ASP) electrician
7. The ASP will also install the metering system, if necessary
8. Your solar power system is connected to the grid
10. You will need to pay an application and metering fee of to Power and Water. (Additional Charges may apply)
11. Your electricity retailer will make the appropriate changes to your account, and credit your future bills where appropriate
Additional requirements around Darwin: Building-related considerations
The NT government also requires solar PV systems to be certified for high-wind conditions.
- Residents of the “Top End” (Darwin and surrounds, approx 100km radius) will need to obtain a building permit for the solar PV frames and panels. Although some solar PV mounting frames are pre-approved under the NT’s “Deemed to Comply Manual“, solar panels themselves will need to be assessed on an individual basis. Insurance, whose cost increases with the size of the solar system, must also be purchased. (From April 2011, NT residents in non-cyclonic regions are exempt from this requirement.)
- Solar installations in Alice Springs will require a NT registered building practitioner of certifier to provide a letter of certification. Fees for this service may vary, but are around $300.
- Additional certification may also be required if panels in the installation are closer than 1.2m from the edge of the roof
Other useful resources:
PowerWater: Going solar FAQs
(Top image via kidsmaps.com)
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd