A guide to solar power in Darwin, NT

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When considering installing solar, there are factors to take into account based on where you live. The good news is that with plenty of sun, Darwin is one of the best cities in Australia to install solar. The Bureau of Statistics reveals that Darwin receives an average of around nine hours of sunshine a day, making the choice to go solar both profitable and environmentally friendly.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, as a big upfront investment, going solar isn’t always an easy choice. Here at Canstar Blue, our goal is to answer all of your burning questions on Darwin solar and equip you with the tools to make good financial decisions. Let’s begin!

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How much do solar panels cost in Darwin?

To buy and install a new solar system in Darwin, you can expect to pay between $5,800 and $13,700. Systems less than 3kW should cost you under $6,000, whereas medium-sized systems will set you back between $7,000 and $9,000. Large systems between 7kW and 10kW cost more than $10,000 to install in Darwin.

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  3kW 4kW 5kW 6kW 7kW 10kW
Darwin $5,810 $7,130 $7,950 $8,970 $10,090 $13,670
National Average $4,020 $4,660 $5,180 $5,820 $6,750 $9,460

Source: Solar Choice – May 2022 solar price index. Prices are after applied STC discounts and GST.

According to Solar Choice, solar installation costs in Darwin are significantly higher than the national average. However, the data in the table above should be used as a rough guide only. The actual cost of your installation could be less (or more) than what’s estimated. Several factors influence how much solar panels cost, including the system type, where you live and even the slope of your roof, so it’s a good idea to speak to a solar installer for a more accurate quote.

How many households have solar in the NT?

According to the Clean Energy Regulator, more than 20,000 small-scale solar systems have been installed in Darwin and the wider Northern Territory. Australian Photovoltaic Institute data reveals that 3,020 of those systems 10kw and under are in Darwin.

Darwin Solar Rebates and Incentives

At the time of writing, the Northern Territory government currently offers a number of rebates and incentives to Darwin homeowners, including the Federal STC rebate and the NT Home and Business Battery Scheme.

STCs in the Northern Territory

tech-certificates-in-qld

Available to Darwin and other NT households is an incentive known as Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). This federal scheme rewards homeowners who install solar by reducing the upfront cost of installing solar panels or hot water systems.

The government allocates a certain number of certificates to each household, which is determined by system size and where in Australia you live. Your solar installer will then use these certificates—capped at $40 per STC—to subsidise installation costs.

NT households are in the best position to receive the most amount of STCs thanks to the significant amount of sun Darwin rooftops see. Australia is split into four STC zones and Darwin households are in Zone 1, receiving more STCs than those in Zones 2, 3 and 4. This means that solar installation in Darwin is subsidised more than in other major cities like Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Home and Business Battery Scheme Northern Territory

Darwin households looking to install a solar battery may be eligible for a grant of $450 per kilowatt-hour of battery capacity, up to a maximum of $6,000. Eligible homeowners must be in the Northern Territory and install a battery that is virtual power plant capable and on the government list of eligible batteries. The funding can be used for either a simultaneous solar panel and battery installation or a battery on its own for households with solar already installed.

Solar Companies in Darwin

Two solar installers fixing panel to roof

Until 2020, the Northern Territory offered Darwin residents a premium feed-in tariff (pFiT) of 26.05c/kWh, which was the same as the standard tariff for electricity at the time. On April 5, 2020, the government announced a new standard feed-in tariff of 8.3c/kWh for all new solar installations.

Where a system was installed on or before April 5, 2020, the pFiT can be maintained for four years on the condition that the system isn’t upgraded or you don’t move house.

Darwin Solar Feed-In Tariffs

So, what feed-in tariffs are available in Darwin? Unlike the eastern states and territories, the Northern Territory’s energy market isn’t notably competitive, meaning most households will be with government-owned Jacana Energy, receiving the standard feed-in tariff. What Darwin solar owners may not know is that Jacana isn’t their only option. The below table compares Jacana Energy’s feed-in tariff with new entrant Rimfire Energy.

Retailer Minimum Feed-in Tariff (kWh) Maximum Feed-in Tariff (kWh)
Rimfire Energy 11.0c 11.0c
Jacana Energy 8.3c 8.3c

What is the best solar feed-in tariff in Darwin?

The best feed-in tariff in Darwin is 26.05c/kWh, offered by Jacana Energy to those with a system installed on or before April 5, 2020. The next best tariff on offer for new solar customers comes from independent challenger brand Rimfire Energy, offering 11c/kWh.

Solar Installers in Darwin

The following list offers some examples of solar installers available in the wider Darwin area. It is sorted alphabetically.

  • Arafura Solar
  • Country Solar NT
  • Darwin Solar
  • Eco Sparks Solar and Electrical Contractors Pty Ltd
  • Eco Tech Solar
  • GEM Energy
  • Northern Renewable Group
  • Oneroof Solar
  • Orbit Contracting
  • SEM Group
  • Solahart
  • SolarCity
  • Your Green Planet

Do I need permission to install solar in Darwin?

Due to the prevalence of cyclones in Darwin and surrounds, the NT government requires a few conditions to be met before solar can be installed. They are:

  • Solar systems certified for high-wind conditions.
  • Network Connection Agreement and Power Purchase Agreement forms.
  • A building permit for the solar PV frames and panels.

Is solar worth it in Darwin, NT?

When it comes to installing solar, one question rules them all: Is it worth it? As you may have guessed, the answer will be different for everyone. While the initial solar investment in Darwin is comparatively costly, there’s still relief in the form of federal incentives, battery rebates and payback estimates.

However, it’s worth considering that payback periods will vary substantially depending on your household’s energy consumption and how much you’re exporting back into the grid, and installation costs may be more or less than what estimates suggest. Before undertaking any work, it’s important that you collect multiple quotes and look into all of your options to ensure that you get the best deal and system for your needs.

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Picture credit: sljones/shutterstock.com, Frolphy/shutterstock.com

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